Understanding Tsunamis Despite the popularity of this image, tsunami waves do not normally look like this.
Tsunamis can be generated by: • Large Earthquakes (such as Sumatra, Dec. 26, 2004) • Underwater volcanic eruptions (Krakatoa, 1883) • Comet or asteroid impacts (Chicxulub impact 65 mya) • Large landslides that extend into water • Large undersea landslides (evidence for prehistoric undersea landslides in Hawaii and off the east coast of North America)
Earthquake Generation of Tsunami Animation http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/645fall2003_web.dir/elena_suleimani/generation_small.mov
Tsunami Statistics Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami resulted in over 250,000 deaths.
26 Dec. 2004 Tsunami max. wave height and arrival time Geist, Titov and Synolakis, Tsunami: Wave of Change, Scientific American, January, 2006.
Chedi Resort, Phuket, Thailand, wave height ~4+ m estimates of water level from beach umbrellas.
At approximately 2:00 AM Hawaiian time on April 1, 1946, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale struck the ocean floor off the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The vertical movement of the sea floor generated a series of waves of enormous magnitude that traveled at speeds averaging 500 miles an hour across the Pacific Ocean towards the Hawaiian Islands. On Maui, a series of waves struck the northern coast, from Honokohau in the west to Hana in the east, killing 14 people, leaving another 550 homeless, and demolishing 77 homes and other buildings. Another 156 buildings were partially damaged by waves.