Geology Lab



Lab 5

What is a Tsunami

A tsunami is a series of waves that are generated by a large displacement of sea water.

The energy moves out from the source, producing a series of waves that have long wavelengths.

Characteristics of a Tsunami

Generated in deep sea water

water that is displaced by a landslide or fault movement

Velocities are in the range of several hundred mph

The deeper water its travelling through, the faster it is

Tsunamis can move at 500 mph same as a jet plane

Tsunamis can cross the entire ocean in less than a day

What causes a Tsunami?




Life Cycle of a Tsunami


Energy displaces water

Water uplifts and drops


Splits and travels radially outward


Wave height increases, velocity decreases

Wave approaches shore


Water comes to shore

Tsunami Warning and Mitigation

Watching out for large earthquakes

Pacific Tsunami Warning center

Headquarters of National Weather Services (NWS)

Few people must live near the shoreline

Tsunami Detection

Buoys receives signal from seafloor sensor

Pressure from passing tsunami

Tracking path of tsunami

First information seismic activity

Be prepared

Second – pressure sensing of water column

Tsunami is traveling

What Happens During a Tsunami Warning?

An information Bulletin

Information to scientists that an earthquake has occurred

An advisory

Issued when it is believed a tsunami may have occurred

A watch

This is issued based on seismic information.

Depends on the magnitude of the earthquake

A warning

Highest level of tsunami alert

Tsunami Hazards

Destruction is caused by the smashing force of water travelling at high speed and the destructive power of a large volume of water

Tsunamis destroy buildings, bridges, cars, uproot trees, telephone lines, power lines

Cause deaths.

Tsunami in 2004 that struck East Asia and East Africa killed about 31,000 people, injured 23,000


Can damage sewage and fresh water supplies

Environmental impact