How Dangerous are Tsunamis?

Tsunamis are very dangerous waves that have the power to demolish coastlines rapidly.

Envision playing by the ocean, when unexpectedly, the water drops. Where the water used to be, there are ribbons of seaweed and wriggling fish. What do you do? It might be the first sign of tsunamis.  

A tsunami is a long wave that’s shaped in the ocean when the seafloor moves abruptly. Most tsunamis occur due to huge earthquakes on the ocean floor. Others develop due to volcanoes, landslides, or even meteors going into the ocean. The reason for a tsunami can be far away, on the other side of the ocean. 

Numerous tsunamis are small. Though, they also can be huge, over 10 feet high or more. When the water rises that much, it moves powerfully and fast. Tsunamis are natural. But, when they reach people, they become disastrous.

Why are Tsunamis so Deadly?

Hard to detect and predict: This is because they have a very long wavelength and a small wave height offshore. For this reason, they can go unnoticed at sea, having only a little swell typically around 12 inches over the standard sea surface.

Speed and size: What makes these vast waves so deadly is because they increase in speed and height as they get to shallow water. Because of the high energy involved and the immense volumes of water, tsunamis can demolish coastal regions.

A tsunami can happen in any tidal state and even at low tide, it can still inundate coastal areas. Over 80% of tsunamis happen in the Pacific Ocean. Tsunamis are a common occurrence in Japan.

Landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other underwater explosions all have the power to trigger a tsunami. Scientists now use the word “tsunami” in favor of tidal waves. They have nothing to do with the tides.

Hopefully, with every tragedy, scientists can discover more about early detection and warning signs. The truth is:  when mother nature roars, we are at her mercy.