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35 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Tsunami | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. A tsunami is usually caused by an earthquake but can also be caused by a volcanic eruption, landslide, rapid changes in atmospheric pressure, or a meteorite.
  2. Tsunami means “harbor wave” in Japanese (tsu = harbor + nami = wave), reflecting Japan’s tsunami-prone history.
  3. Many scientists believe that a meteorite may have created a tsunami that wiped out life on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.
  4. Scientists believe that an asteroid struck the Indian Ocean about 4,800 years ago. The tsunami that resulted is theorized to have been approximately 600 feet (180 m) high.
  5. When an enormous earthquake hit Lisbon in 1755, the city’s terrified citizens rushed to the sea shore for safety. They were amazed to see seawater rushing away from the shore but minutes later, a massive tsunami arrived killing 90,000 residents.
  6. Only two large tsunamis are known to have struck Europe: one struck Crete and surrounding Mediterranean coasts in 1530 B.C., and one struck Lisbon, Portugal in 1755.
  7. A “mega-tsunami” is a tsunami with extremely high waves and is usually caused by a landslide. A mega-tsunami occurred at Lituya Bay, Alaska, in 1958, creating the tallest tsunami ever recorded at 1,700 feet (534 m) high. Miraculously, only two people died.
  8. Scientists hypothesize that the next mega-tsunami may occur in the Canary Islands. The mega tsunami could cross the Atlantic Ocean and devastate U.S. coastal cities like New York, Boston, and Miami with waves reaching more than 100 feet high.
  9. One of the largest earthquakes in history occurred over 100 miles off the coast of Chile on May 22, 1960. Just 15 minutes after the 9.5 quake, 80-foot waves struck the coast. 15 hours later, tsunami waves struck Hawaii and, 22 hours after the earthquake, it struck Japan , 10,000 miles from where the earthquake took place.
  10. A 9.0 earthquake 81 miles off the coast of Sendai caused the massive 2011 tsunami. The earthquake that caused it is the world’s fifth-largest earthquake since 1900. It has been 1,200 years since an earthquake of this magnitude struck the plate boundary of Japan.
  11. The World Bank estimates that rebuilding the tsunami-affected areas of Japan will cost $232 billion and will take at least five years.
  12. Because of its long history of devastating tsunamis, Japan has the most advanced tsunami warning system in the world consisting of more than 1,500 seismometers and more than 500 water-level gauges. Japan’s tsunami warning system costs $20 million a year to run.
  13. A tsunami is in fact a series of waves called a “wave train.” The time period between waves is called the “wave period” and can be between a few minutes and two hours. The first wave is usually not the strongest, and later waves, such as the fifth or sixth, may be significantly larger.
  14. Tsunamis retain their energy, meaning they can travel across entire oceans with limited energy loss. The farthest distance inland reached by tsunami waters is referred to as the area of inundation. The highest point that this water reaches is called the run-up.
  15. Reports show that those who use their cars to escape tsunamis often get stuck in traffic jams or encounter other obstacles and are, therefore, more likely to be swept away. The best way to escape is on foot, climbing up any steep slopes nearby as quickly as possible. You should try to reach a place at least 50 feet above sea level during a tsunami.
  16. People often die after the first tsunami wave because they return to their homes too soon or go to the beach to help stranded people or animals, only to be engulfed by another tsunami wave.
  17. If caught by a tsunami wave, it is better not to swim, but rather to grab a floating object and allow the current to carry you.
  18. In the deepest part of the ocean, tsunami waves are often only one  to three feet tall. It may be difficult to realize that tsunami waves are passing underneath. Full force is realized when it reaches the coast.
  19. Up to half an hour before a tsunami strikes, the ocean can but not always  suddenly appear to drain away. The withdraw of the water is called the “drawback” and is the trough of the tsunami reaching the shore. Be aware.
  20. When a tsunami crashes into coastal areas, it is typically moving at about 22 mph (35 km/hr). The speed as it moves inland changes dramatically depending on the slope of the beach and the shore environment.
  21. A tsunami hits land with thousands of times the power of a regular wave. Regular waves are caused by wind pushing water at the surface of the ocean or other body of water. Tsunami waves are created by an event that affects the entire water column, from the ocean floor to its surface.
  22. As a tsunami wave approaches shallow water near land, it slows down to about 20-30 miles (30-50 km) per hour. As it slows, all the water that had been traveling so fast pulls up, causing the wave to grow higher and higher. By the time it hits shore, a tsunami wave can be gigantic.
  23. Tsunami waves do not look like normal waves because they do not break and curl as normal waves do. They come as rapid floods of water or in the form of a large, steep wave that looks like a wall of water.
  24. Earthquake-induced tsunamis are created along subduction zones, or when a lighter tectonic plate is forced above a heavier plate. The sudden rise or fall of the ocean floor displaces the entire overlying water column generating a tsunami. A tsunami will generally not form if the tectonic plates instead split apart or slide past each other.
  25. Approximately 99% of all tsunami-related fatalities have occurred within 160 miles (250 km) of the tsunami’s origin or within 30 minutes of when the tsunami was generated.
  26. Amazingly some animals have the ability to detect impending tsunami. Hours before the Indian Ocean tsunami, people reported seeing elephants and flamingos heading for higher ground. Dogs and zoo animals refused to leave their shelters. After the tsunami, very few dead animals were found.
  27. The Indian Ocean 9.0 earthquake in 2004 released more energy than all the earthquakes on the planet in the last 25 years combined. A segment of seafloor the size of the state of California moved upward and seaward by more than 30 feet, displacing huge amounts of water.
  28. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 in South East Asia killed more than 275,000 people from Indonesia , Sri Lanka , India and Thailand. Victims included not only local people but also approximately 9,000 foreign tourists spending their Christmas vacations at beach resorts. About one third of the dead were children and, in many places, four times as many women as men were killed.
  29. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami uncovered the remains of Mahabalipuram
  30. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 uncovered the lost city Mahabalipuram, the capital of a powerful kingdom that traded with China, Roma, Greece, Arabia, and Egypt some 1,500 years ago.
  31. While waves generated by wind may travel anywhere from around 2 to 60 miles per hour, tsunami waves can travel at speeds of 600 miles per hour, the speed of a jet plane.
  32. The state at greatest risk for a tsunami is Hawaii. Hawaii experiences about one tsunami a year and a damaging tsunami every seven years. California, Oregon, and Washington have a damaging tsunami about every 18 years.
  33. Tsunamis can poison fresh water surface and groundwater systems as well as soil by leaving large amounts of salt behind. Consequently, thousands of people can die of starvation and disease long after the tsunami is gone.
  34. About 80 % of all tsunamis occur in the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. In the Pacific region, nearly 500,000 people have died from tsunamis over the last 2,000 years.
  35. Of the three major oceans, only the Pacific Ocean has an integrated multinational tsunami warning system. There was no tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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