Q:

How do tsunamis form?

A:

Tsunamis are massive waves that form when an ocean is disturbed by an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption or other disruptive event. Underwater earthquakes, which occur at the boundaries of tectonic plates, are one of the most common causes of tsunamis. When one plate moves up or down, it displaces water, and it is this displaced water that becomes the tsunami wave.

Tsunamis also form as a result of undersea landslides. The formation process is similar. Displaced water seeks a stable position, and in doing so, creates a tsunami. In rare cases, tsunamis occur when meteors strike the ocean and displace a large amount of water.

Not all earthquakes or landslides result in tsunami waves. Only those that occur with enough violence to displace a large amount of water very quickly have this devastating effect. Tsunamis are not single waves. Instead, they are a series of large waves in quick succession. These waves may not appear large on the open ocean, but as they approach shallow water, they become higher in comparison to the normal water level. Often, they reach distances of a mile or more offshore, causing destruction in their paths. Because of the large amount of water brought on shore, it takes many hours or days for the water levels to recede after a tsunami.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Where are tsunamis most likely to occur?

    A:

    Tsunamis are most likely to occur in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Tsunamis are most commonly formed from undersea earthquakes that result in a sudden rise or fall of the Earth's crust under the ocean.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do tsunamis form?

    A:

    A tsunami begins above an undersea earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption along the ocean floor, explains Lisa Gardiner of the National Earth Science Teachers Association. In the case of an earthquake, when the movement along a fault moves the seafloor upward, water also pushes upward and becomes a tsunami wave.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does an earthquake form?

    A:

    Earthquakes happen when the boundaries of the Earth's tectonic plates bump and slide past one another; sometimes, they get stuck on jagged edges and cause earthquakes once they are released. These earthquakes are always followed by aftershocks starting from the same epicenter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Can tsunamis be prevented?

    A:

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tsunamis are a naturally occurring part of Earth's climate and can't be prevented. The best course of action people can take when dealing with tsunamis is to better prepare for them and minimize the damage that tsunamis inevitably cause. Consistent research and effort is being put into developing the means to help global communities mitigate the devastation of tsunamis.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore