March 16, 2011

facts on tsunamis


click HERE to get facts on the JAPAN EARTHQUAKE, TSUNAMI, NUCLEAR CRISIS of March 2011, with info on damage and destruction, economic impact and links to resources

(scroll to bottom of the post to a documentary on how the Japan tsunami happened)

If you find this useful, please give credit and link back! Please play nice, don't plagiarize.
A lot of time and effort went into researching this, I would love it if you left a comment and let me know if you'll be using the info somewhere. Thanks!

What it is: The word “tsunami” comes from the Japanese words for “harbour” and “wave.” A tsunami consists of a series of waves, known as a wave train. Tsunami waves can be up to 60-mile (100-km) long. The killer waves could come minutes or hours apart; the first is not necessarily the largest.

The speed: Tsunamis can travel across the ocean at speeds of
up to 1,000 km (620 miles) an hour, the speed of a jet aircraft. The March 11 Japan tsunami crossed the Pacific Ocean to hit California shores in less than a day. Scientists can calculate the time it will take a tsunami to get to different parts of the world based on knowledge of water depths, distances and when the event that generated the tsunami occurred.

The strength: The destructive force of a tsunami comes not from the height of the wave, but from the volume of water moving. It is as if the ocean floods the coast, smashing everything in its path, and then just as quickly recedes. Many people who survive the initial wave impact are washed out to sea as the tsunami recedes. Many are killed not by the waters, but the debris they carry.

The cause: Most tsunamis are caused by undersea earthquakes if they are strong enough and there is a violent enough movement of the seafloor to cause substantial and sudden displacement of a huge amount of water. The vast size of the Pacific Ocean and the large earthquakes associated with the "Ring of Fire" combine to produce deadly tsunamis in the Asia-Pacific. About 80 percent of all tsunamis take place in the Pacific Ocean.

Warning signs, what to do
(summarized from National Geographic)
1. An earthquake: If you feel or hear of an earthquake happening, do not stay close to shore. Get news updates for the possiblity of a tsunami and remember that a tsunami can travel across the seas and strike thousands of miles away a few hours after an earthquake.

2. A tsunami is sometimes preceded by a rapid fall or rise in coastal water levels. If you see the ocean receding unusually quickly, a tsunami may be approaching in as little as 5 minutes' time. Go to high ground immediately.  Do not go to the beach or stay near the shore to view the retreating ocean and exposed seafloor.

3. Remember that a tsunami is a series of waves and the danger can last several hours after the first wave hits. The seawater could retreat and advance repeatedly. Stay in a safe spot until authorities say it is safe.

4. A tsunami wave may be small at one place but larger a short distance away. Do not assume that because there is minimal sign of a tsunami in one place that it will be the same elsewhere.

5. Tsunamis can travel up rivers and streams that lead to the ocean. Stay away from these if there is a tsunami.

World's most devastating tsunamis
1. Most deadly: 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. 230,000 dead. Maximum wave height: about 50 metres.
2. Second largest : 1908 in Messina, Italy. 123,000 dead,
3. Third largest: 1755 in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ireland, UK. 100,000 dead.

[ list of natural disasters, Wikipedia ]

Other deadly  tsunamis
1. The world's biggest tsunami struck the remote Lituya Bay in Alaska on July 9, 1958. It was caused by a magnitude 8 quake which caused a massive landslide. As the wave swept through Lituya Bay, it was forced to rise up, reaching an estimated height of 1,720 feet on the other side of the bay, becoming a mega-tsunami. The sparsely populated bay was devastated, but damage was localised.

2. The Krakatau island volcanic eruption of 1883 generated waves reaching heights of 125 feet, killing some 36,000 people. It was the most violent volcanic eruption in modern history.

3. In Japan in June 1896 a tsunami struck Sankiru killing more than 27,100 people following a 7.6 magnitude quake. Read an article on the Sankiru tsunami published in National Geographic in September 1896.

4. In 2010 many people who survived the 8.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 27 in Chile were killed hours later by the massive tsunami, outraging Chileans who said there was no warning the waves were coming. Tsunami waves of up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) went on to hit far-flung Pacific regions from the Russian far east and Japan to New Zealand's Chatham Islands.

2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
In 2004, an earthquake of 9.1-9.3 magnitude took place in the Indian Ocean, releasing the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs, according to the USGS. The epicenter was close to the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The Earth's tectonic plates moved violently and displaced a large quantity of water. Powerful shock waves were sent in all directions. The tsunami traveled as far as 3,000 miles (almost 5,000 km) to Africa. At some places, the waves reached a height of 9 meters (55 feet). Within a few hours, killer waves hit the coasts of 11 Indian Ocean countries, from Thailand to Africa. Some 230,000 people died. Only about 180,000 bodies were recovered.

[ facts on tsunamis, Reuters ]
[ Records related to tsunami, ]
[ tsunami facts, National Geographic ]

Japan's Tsunami: How It Happened
The documentary investigates the science behind the March 11 earthquake and the tsunami that followed. It follows Professor of geological sciences Roger Bilham as he views the disaster from the air, and journalist Callum Macrae who travels to the devastated north and meets survivors struggling to cope in the aftermath.

Japan's tsunami: How it happened (YouTube)

link to PBS video on Japan's killer quake (aired March 31, 2011)

If you find this useful, please give credit and link back! Please play nice, don't plagiarize. A lot of time and effort went into researching this, I would love it if you left a comment and let me know if you'll be using the info somewhere. Thanks!

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related posts
* FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011
* Damage caused by Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* Economic impact of Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* facts on earthquakes
* facts on nuclear disasters
* Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help
Sources for the full post on facts about the Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011: Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, Ottawa Citizen, National Geographic, Reuters, BBC, buzzle, Wikipedia, USGS, Scolastic, Scientific American
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Related links

Buy 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake: 100% of procceds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society
Google Person Finder 2011 Japan Earthquake (you can use this to locate or provide info about a victim)
Volunteer interpreters (Japan Association of Translators) 
Donate with PayPal: Japan earthquake and tsunami relief
Yahoo! link to where you can donate: Japan earthquake and tsunami: How to help
Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help ~ liberal sprinkles (links to resources, places to donate, raffles and giveaways)

How to protect yourself in an earthquake and emergency numbers for Japan (in 24 languages)
72 hour emergency preparedness kit DIY (Tipnut)

Earthquake in Japan (The Atlantic)
Epic waves, earthquake shock Japan (National Geographic)

BBC Japan earthquake portal 
Timeline on Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis (Reuters)
Updates on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (The Lede, NY Times)  lots of videos, also of tsunami hitting US
video: Japan tsunami engulfs everything in its path (Daily Telegraph)
Magnitude 8.9 Near the East Coast of Japan, USGS podcast 
10-year-old girl Tilly Smith saves 100 tourists from 2004 tsunami at Thai beach (Daily Telegraph)
Japan markets and economy after Kobe earthquake (Reuters)
Advanced economies at advantage in disaster (Reuters via The Montreal Gazette)

facts, info, videos on tsunamis (National Geographic)
USGS earthquake FAQ
earthquake and tsunami facts (MCEER, SUNY Buffalo)
seismicity in Japan (wikipedia)
for kids
how to survive a tsunami (wikiHow) this is actually also very good for adults
Fema for kids: tsunamis
(USGS) Earthquake for kids
Geology - Plate tectonics (Yahoo! kids)
Talking to your child about the earthquake in Japan ( Kid's doctor)


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