Tsunamis are one of the most powerful forces in nature and can produce devastating damage in a short amount of time that can rival that of hurricanes. So what is tsunamis? and how is it formed?
A Tsunami is the biggest wave caused by a major Earthquake or some other massive movement. When an earthquake happens the vibrations travel through deep ocean waters until it approaches a shore line. The shallow depths cause the waves created by the earthquake or major movement to build upon each other making the massive waves we know about.
While we are most familiar with the one huge wave, a tsunamis can also be a series of devastating waves. This can often be more damaging than the one huge wave.
The strength of a tsunamis relies on several factors. The first is the earthquake or landslide that started it. The stronger the earthquake or the bigger the landslide the more powerful the tsunamis is likely to be. Another thing to look for is how close the tsunamis wave’s origin is to a shoreline. This can be tricky. If right next to the land, the shore will not likely see a tsunamis. However if it is relatively close the power of the tsunamis can dramatically decrease.
Most Tsunamis occur in the Pacific and Indian Ocean in the region of volcanic activity called the Ring of Fire. This region of the world has a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes so it is place that has a high occurrence of Tsunamis. However, most of them while they cause property damage do little harm to human life even the more powerful ones. Especially with advanced warning. However, there have been a few that are now considered to be the most deadly in recorded history.
The deadliest occurred recently in 2004 in Indonesia. It is called the Christmas Tsunamis of 2004. The tsunamis was created by a powerful earthquake near Indonesia. The series of waves caused devastation all around the Indian ocean hitting places as far as East Africa. The death toll ended up being in the hundreds of thousands.
To prevent such disasters many governments such as the United States have monitoring systems to track earthquakes and warn of possible tsunamis. This advanced warning helps to prevent loss of life by giving residents enough time to evacuate to higher and safe locations.
Tsunamis help to remind us that there are many natural forces that we still can not control.
If you enjoyed this article you will like some of the others on Universe Today. There is a great article about Tsunamis and another about the effects of Tsunamis.
There are also some great resources online. The University of Washington has a great Tsunamis web page You can also look at the Savage earth “Waves of Destruction” web page.