Q:

How far inland can a tsunami go?

A:

Quick Answer

With wave speeds that can reach as much as 435 miles per hour, a tsunami can travel as far inland as 10 miles, depending on the slope and the shape of the shoreline that it is traveling across. Ships traveling in the deep ocean may pass over a tsunami and not even notice it because a tsunami can cause the waves to be as little as 2 feet high where the water is very deep.

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Full Answer

A tsunami occurs most often as an earthquake on the sea floor. This earthquake can trigger a wide variety of phenomenon, including undersea landslides and undersea volcanic eruptions, and it can even affect meteorites. When a sudden change in the seafloor occurs, it can cause the ocean to flow away from the disturbance and quite often towards land while creating large crashing waves.

The most common thing that people should look for with a tsunami is when the water along the shoreline recedes further out than normal. By this time, it is much too late to respond because the water will begin to rush in within as little as 5 minutes. Once a tsunami occurs, it is important to stay off the beach because there will likely be larger waves to follow.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do you prepare for a tsunami?

    A:

    Before a tsunami is imminent, people living in areas where tsunamis are possible should construct tsunami emergency kits and organize a family communications plan. When a tsunami watch is issued, people should tune into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather service, ensure the emergency kit is well stocked, locate family members and prepare to evacuate. When a tsunami warning is issued, everyone should evacuate to higher ground.

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  • Q:

    How does a tsunami happen?

    A:

    Tsunamis are formed by violent underwater earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and, rarely, meteor impacts. These events cause sudden and drastic displacement of water, forming massive waves in the process.

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  • Q:

    What happens during a tsunami?

    A:

    When a tsunami occurs, it's typically in response to an earthquake, and oceanic waves grow to large proportions, increasing their rate of causing damage. Other natural earth forces can cause tsunamis as well, including meteorites, landslides, explosions and a volcano erupting, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or BOM.

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  • Q:

    What is a tsunami?

    A:

    A tsunami is a series of waves generated by a disturbance on the ocean floor. This disturbance can be caused by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, explosions or meteorites. The waves have very long wavelengths, which can travel hundreds of miles across the ocean. As the waves reach the continental shelf, they can grow to be several meters in height and cause extensive destruction along the coastline.

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