Q: What causes tsunamis?

Mogil, H. Michael
April 2005
Science & Children;Apr/May2005, Vol. 42 Issue 7, p46
Academic Journal
The article offers information on the causes of tsunamis. Tsunami means "harbor wave" in Japanese, and they have a long history in Japan. Tsunamis are most often caused by undersea earthquakes. An undersea landslide, a volcano, or even a large meteorite can also trigger a tsunami event. The magnitude of the earthquake that triggered the South Asia tsunami in December 2004 was 9.0. According to the United States Geological Survey, it was the fourth largest in the world since 1900. A tsunami is triggered by a megathrust earthquake, an earthquake that occurs at a megathrust fault, the boundary between two tectonic plates where one plate is moving under the other or subducting. A tsunami may dissipate or may travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers depending upon its characteristics. Sea waves can build to heights of 10m or more.


Related Articles

  • The 1856 Djijelli (Algeria) earthquake and tsunami: source parameters and implications for tsunami hazard in the Balearic Islands. Roger, J.; Hébert, H. // Natural Hazards & Earth System Sciences;2008, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p721 

    In 1856, one (or two) destructive earthquake(s) occurred off Djijelli (Algeria) and probably triggered a tsunami in the western Mediterranean Sea. Following recently published results of marine campaigns along the North-Algerian margin, a new source hypothesis for the earthquake has been...

  • Triggering Mechanisms of Slope Instability and their Relationship to Earthquakes and Tsunamis. Wright, S. G.; Rathje, E. M. // Pure & Applied Geophysics;Oct2003, Vol. 160 Issue 10/11, p1865 

    — Submarine and shoreline slope failures that accompany large earthquakes and large tsunamis are triggered by several mechanisms. Triggering mechanisms range from direct effects, such as inertial forces from earthquake shaking, to indirect effects, such as rapid drawdown that occurs when...

  • Destruction of Atlantis by a great earthquake and tsunami? A geological analysis of the Spartel Bank hypothesis. Gutscher, Marc-André // Geology;Aug2005, Vol. 33 Issue 8, p685 

    Numerous geographical similarities exist between Plato's descriptions of Atlantis and a paleoisland (Spartel) in the western Straits of Gibraltar. The dialogues recount a catastrophic event that submerged the island ca. 11.6 ka in a single day and night, due to violent earthquakes and floods....

  • Multiple sources for late-Holocene tsunamis at Discovery Bay, Washington State, USA. Williams, Harry F.L.; Hutchinson, Ian; Nelson, Alan R. // Holocene;Jan2005, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p60 

    Nine muddy sand beds interrupt a 2500-yr-old sequence of peat deposits beneath a tidal marsh at the head of Discovery Bay on the south shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington. An inferred tsunami origin for the sand beds is assessed by means of six criteria. Although all the sand beds...

  • Tsunami geoscience. Dawson, Alastair; Stewart, Iain // Progress in Physical Geography;Dec2007, Vol. 31 Issue 6, p575 

    Research in tsunami geoscience has accelerated markedly ever since the tragedy of the Indian Ocean tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. Yet, for many decades and centuries, scholars have been describing a multiplicity of tsunami events. Thus the Royal Society devoted a whole volume to the effects of the...

  • The July 1998 Papua New Guinea Earthquake: Mechanism and Quantification of Unusual Tsunami Generation. Satake, Kenji; Tanioka, Yuichiro // Pure & Applied Geophysics;Oct2003, Vol. 160 Issue 10/11, p2087 

    — The unusual tsunami generated by the July 17, 1998 Papua New Guinea earthquake was investigated on the basis of various geophysical observations, including seismological data, tsunami waveform records, and on-land and submarine surveys. The tsunami source models were constructed for...

  • Quantification of Hydrophone Records of the 2004 Sumatra Tsunami. Okal, Emile A.; Talandier, Jacques; Reymond, Dominique // Pure & Applied Geophysics;Feb2007, Vol. 164 Issue 2/3, p309 

    The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman tsunami was recorded by hydrophones of the International Monitoring System at Site H08 near Diego Garcia, notably in frequency bands extending outside the range of the Shallow Water Approximation. Despite the severe high-pass filtering involved in this instrumentation,...

  • Tsunami leaves behind intriguing clues. Dawicki, Shelley // Oceanus;2005, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p22 

    The article focuses on the post scenario of tsunami that has left behind intriguing clues. If any good has come from the devastating earthquakes off Sumatra, it is that they are providing scientists with unprecedented clues to learn how large undersea earthquakes occur and how they create...

  • Nations grieve after deadly wave. Bradford, Michael; Veysey, Sarah; Wright, J. Nils // Business Insurance;1/3/2005, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p1 

    The article informs that a deadly tsunami late last month claimed more than 100,000 lives in several Asian and African countries and left a swath of destruction estimated in the billions of dollars, much of it uninsured. The economic losses, though, pale in relation to the human toll taken by...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics