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.

Most tsunamis are caused by earthquakes. As a result, most tsunamis occur near or at fault lines. When a tsunami is generated, it is not only 1 wave. Instead it is a series of waves, known as a wave train. These waves travel together and can be up to 1 hour apart. Tsunami waves travel extremely fast with speeds of up to 500 miles per hour—the speed of a jet.

They can be as wide as 60 miles and cross entire oceans without losing momentum. When a tsunami is traveling, it may be less than a foot in height. This causes it to be unnoticed by sailors who are at sea. As the tsunami approaches land, it hits shallow water and begins to slow down. The top of the wave, however, continues travelling, causing the sea to rise dramatically. Tsunamis are extremely destructive on land. The waves can surge up to 100 feet in height and completely devastate a coastal area. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was the deadliest tsunami in human history, killing over 150,000 people.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How did the Boxing Day tsunami happen?

    A:

    The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on Boxing Day occurred as the result of an underwater earthquake, ranking 9.1 on the Richter scale, off of the west coast of Sumatra. The energy created by the shift in Earth's crust transferred to the water, leading to a devastating tsunami that was more than 20 feet tall.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can a tsunami be prevented?

    A:

    No known way to prevent a tsunami from occurring exists. Individuals can take steps to be prepared for a tsunami, and warning systems can help get people out of harm's way if an impending tsunami is predicted.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How far inland can a tsunami go?

    A:

    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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore