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.
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.Learn More
During an earthquake, surface waves are the seismic waves that cause the most damage. Unlike other seismic waves that move deep inside the Earth, surface waves move along just under the surface of the Earth like waves in water.Full Answer >
The effects of a tsunami include loss of human and animal life, devastating property damage, severe flooding and disease. There are also environmental effects such as contamination of soil and water, a permanent change to the landscape, solid waste and disaster debris, and hazardous materials and toxic substances.Full Answer >
Tsunamis usually occur when earthquakes take place underneath the ocean at tectonic plate boundaries, or when volcanic eruptions or landslides take place in the ocean. Underwater earthquakes cause the ocean floor to fall and rise abruptly, which results in large volumes of water being displaced. This displaced water then forms into massive rolling waves that eventually become a tsunami.Full Answer >
Tsunamis are measured by their runup,which is the difference between an observed sea level and the distance the tsunami waters reach on shore. This is generally measured once the danger has passed, so debris and destruction of plant life are often used as gauges of runup.Full Answer >