What is a Tsunami?

tsunamiWhat is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a series of waves created when a body of water is suddenly displaced. They are also called seismic waves since most tsunamis are caused by seismic activity such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even landslides under bodies of water. In prehistoric times, some scientists believe that tsunamis might have even been caused by meteorite impact in the ocean.

What causes a tsunami?

Tsunamis can be seen as a series of traveling ocean waves having great lengths that has been generated by some submarine disturbances strong enough to create ripples that show themselves above.

On deep water, these series of waves may not look as menacing and may even be treated as slow moving waves. But such waves have been generated by forces that have created vast amounts of energy that allowed the waves to form. But as this displacement finds itself moving towards land, it encounters more and more limited space to move in.

As the water becomes shallow, the energy of a tsunami becomes constricted into a smaller space. Its energy becomes condensed and the limited space it is now moving into allows the tsunami to gain height as well as speed. As it reaches the shore, the tsunami has become a very destructive force that can do damage to anything that it passes on.

Tsunami in history

Throughout history, the world has experienced a number of tsunamis all over the world. One notable example occurred during the great Krakatoa Eruption of 1883 in Indonesia. The series of volcanic eruptions generated giant tsunamis that reached heights as high as 125 feet above sea level. These tsunamis were even experienced by a number of boats located as far as South Africa. These killer tsunamis wiped out a number of coastal villages in its wake and caused thousands of fatalities.

Probably the most notable tsunami that happened in current times was during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The said earthquake, that happened on December 26 and generated energy forces that reached as high as magnitude 9, triggered a series of killer tsunamis that devastated a number of countries.

The initial surge of the tsunami reached as high as 108 feet. It was considered as the largest tsunami in recorded history that was generated by the earthquake. The tsunami devastated the immediate area where the earthquake happened, most notably in Indonesia, Thailand and the north-western coast of Malaysia.

The 2004 tsunami killed over 300,000 people and even devastated countries thousands of kilometers away. The devastation was seriously felt in as far away as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives as well as in Eastern and South Africa. The tsunami was even recorded to have reached the shores of Mexico which is located 13,000 kilometers away from the earthquake epicenter.

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