Tsunamis: Waves of Destruction

What are the causes and effects of Tsunamis?

Created by,
Barbara Bray

Curriculum Info  Meet the Author

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. From "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"; 1823-29 (140 Kb); Color woodcut, 10 x 15 in; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Tsunamis are large ocean waves that move extremely fast sometimes at 500 miles per hour and can travel great distances. When they reach shore, the ocean first retreats before it becomes a large wall of water enveloping everything in sight.

Refer to the websites below to learn the basics of Tsunamis, causes, and how to prepare and protect against future Tsunamis.

What is a Tsunami?
    •The Physics of Tsunamis
Learn how to pronounce Tsunami, what it means, how they differ from other waves, how earthquakes generate tsunamis, and more.
    •Tsunamis and Earthquakes
General information from USGS on how local tsunamis are generated by earthquakes as well as animations, virtual reality models of tsunamis, and summaries of past research studies.
    •Savage Earth: Waves of Destruction
Background information in article 'Surf's Up' and flash animation that shows how earthquakes can cause a Tsunami.
    •Tsunami and Seiches in South Asia
Background information on Tsunamis that have happened in South Asia including The Story of Hamaguchi Gohei, causes of Tsunamis, and past major Tsunamis in Asia.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia with physics, warning systems, history, future threats, and up-to-date information on Asian Tsunami.
Activities about Tsunamis
    •Let's Make Waves
In this simple set of activities children use wind to create waves and use marbles to model energy moving through water.
    •Monster Waves
students will build a tabletop village and use it to visualize the relative height and affects of gigantic waves called tsunamis.
    •Disaster Story: Tsunami Warning
An online story about a Tsunami that was triggered by a large earthquake.
Preparing for Tsunamis
    •The Tsunami Warning Systems
Learn how warning systems work in the Pacific, the different warning centers, and how the centers are disseminated.
    •What to Do When They Hit
How can you tell if a tsunami is coming? The violent shaking of an earthquake is often the first clue, but most of these earthquakes occur far out to sea and give little or no indication that a tsunami is on the way. The bulleted list provides tips on how to prepare and protect yourselft if a Tsunami comes your way.
    •Tsunami Research Program
The PMEL Tsunami Reseach Program seeks to mitigate tsunami hazards to Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Research and development activities focus on an integrated approach to improving tsunami warning and mitigation.

Last updated: December 28 2004, 12:53 pm
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