The word tsunami comes from the Japanese language. The word means harbor (tsu津) and wave ( nami津). A tsunami is a series of waves that is generated because of a disturbance in the sea. As the waves get closer to shallow water and the shore they grow in size, destroying buildings and drowning boats.
A tsunami is caused by a disturbance at the bottom of the sea. It can be anything from an earthquake, volcano, landslide or explosion. An under water earthquake is the most common cause of a Tsunami. However, not all earthquakes will create a tsunami. For a tsunami to be caused by an earthquake, the earthquake has to have a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale or more.
An under water earthquake happens (causing a tsunami) when oceanic and continental plates push against each other. These plates (which are great areas of the earth’s crust) thrust against each other creating a lot of pressure. The pressure increases and increases until, in the end the oceanic plate slips under the continental plate, discharging all that pressure and force in the form of an earthquake.
If the earthquake is large and powerful enough, the ocean floor will make major movements. As a result, the water above the sea floor will move as well. The ocean’s water is pushed up wards producing a big swell that begins to travel through the ocean. The huge swell becomes the tsunami. It travels at a very fast speed, up to 600 miles per hour.
Since the ocean is very deep, the wave has a lot of room to spread out, but when it moves closer to shore the wave builds up in height, as the water has nowhere to go. In due course the wave will travel to shore and head for inland.
Eventually, the water will quieten down and it will start retreating into the ocean. Sadly, such a great amount of water can cause harm to humans and their properties, particularly if they have not been warned.
A tsunami is a horrendous natural disaster. When it forms, and heads close...