Nine Deadly Facts About Tsunamis

The devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami claimed over 200,000 lives. It struck without warning to the victims caught in the disaster zone.  But tsunamis actually give many warning signals to those monitoring the oceans.  Sadly, the Indian Ocean did not have such monitoring systems.

A Child in Front of the Rubble That Was Her Home

1. Earthquakes, eruptions, and other major disturbances (such as a meteor impact) beneath the sea can cause tsunamis.

2. Tsunamis travel across oceans and build into enormous walls of water as they approach coastal lands.

3. Tsunami wavelengths in the deep ocean travel about 500 miles per hour.

4. Tsunamis generally pass unnoticed on the ocean surface.

5. Sometimes, the first part of a tsunami is a “drawback” where the sea drastically recedes from the shore. This is a deadly warning to get to higher ground.

6. The first wave may not be the largest wave to come.

7. A large tsunami may trigger numerous waves arriving over a period of hours, with considerable time between wave crests.

8. Tsunamis as high as 100 feet crashed into the surrounding islands after the cataclysmic eruption of Krakatoa, Indonesia, killing 36,000 people. But according to National Geographic News, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is the deadliest tsunami in history.

9. It is not possible to prevent a tsunami.

February 18 2011 02:31 pm | Natural Disasters and Tsunami

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