Tsunami Essay, Research Paper


A tsunami is a large water wave that is generated by sesmic activity in or underlying layers known as faults. These enormous wave have historically affected many ways of life and still lie as a major factor for destruction in our coastal communities throughout the world.

A tsunami is a wave chain or series of waves that is generated in a body of water by sea disturbance that vertically displaces the water. Earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity and even cosmic materials can generate tsunamis and or tidal waves. Tsunamis can drastically affect marine life and coastal areas that will drastically alter ways of life and even loss of life in many ways.

The word tsunami is a Japanese word meaning, ”Harbor wave.” Represented by two prefixes “tsu,” meaning harbor, while the following prefix ”nami” means wave. In many instances the word tsunami is referred to as a type of, “tidal wave” or “seismic sea wave” which has the same devistating effect that these horrible storms can create. The term “tidal wave” is misnamed, even though a tsunami’s impact on a coastline is devistating it has little to do with the actual tidal phase. A tide results from an imbalance in the sun, moon and planets. Also the term “seismic” meaning earthquake related action can have little impact on how a tsunami is derivered from the seismic activity that is going on in the under lying layers of the earth.

Tsunamis are unlike wind-generated waves, with long periods and long wave lengths. You may have observed a type of wind-generated wave on a local lake or beach. Tsunamis or tidal waves are shallow water waves, with long periods and wave lengths similar to a wind generated waves but have various factors affecting there swell. A tsunami or tidal wave can have a wavelength of 3,300ft/hr and can travel at speeds up to 100mi/hr. As a result of their long wave lengths, tsunamis act as a shallow water wave meaning that a waves ratio is (under 1:7).

Tsunamis and tidal waves can be generated when the sea floor changes and vertically displaces the overlying sea. A tectonic earthquake is a type of earthquake that is affiliated with the crusts moving over one another. When this happens it creates a disturbance and displaces the water from its original position and creates an under water wave that eventually tries to regain its eqalibrium but creates a tsunami or tidal wave. These changes occure at large plate boundries and subduction zones in the Pacific ocean. And usally result in life treating storms that effect large ares of ocean lying land.

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