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tsunami project

tsunami project

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Published by Victoria Ferrer

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Published by: Victoria Ferrer on Mar 01, 2011
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DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE NATURAL DISASTER 
A tsunami is a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet (30.5 meters), onto land. These walls of water can cause widespread destruction when theycrash ashore.
These awe-inspiring waves are typically caused by large, undersea earthquakes at tectonic plateboundaries. When the ocean floor at a plate boundary rises or falls suddenly it displaces the waterabove it and launches the rolling waves that will become a tsunami. A tsunami’s trough, the low pointbeneath the wave’s crest, often reaches shore first. When it does, it produces a vacuum effect that suckscoastal water seaward and exposes harbor and sea floors. This retreating of sea water is an importantwarning sign of a tsunami, because the wave’s crest and its enormous volume of water typically hitshore five minutes or so later. Recognizing this phenomenon can save lives.
A tsunami is usually composed of a series of waves, called a wave train, so its destructive force may becompounded as successive waves reach shore
WHERE  AND WHEN THE DISASTER IS MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR 
Most tsunamis, about 80 percent, happen within the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a geologicallyactive area where tectonic shifts make volcanoes and earthquakes common. A tsunami can occur in anyocean. If there is an earthquake or a huge movement had taken the place, that increases the likelihoodof a Tsunami occurring. There are plates on the surface of the earth and there are some gaps betweentwo plates (usually they are placed under the sea). When these plates are moved  vertically, a huge seawave will occur. This is the typical method for a tsunami. At the middle of the sea we can't have a greatexperience of tsunami but when it comes near the shore it will become greater.Tsunamis occur most often along countries which border the Pacific "Rim of Fire", or "Ring of Fire'.One end of this region of high sesmic and volcanic activity begins at New zealand, heading northwestto Indonesia (completely bypassing Australia) and then west to Papua New guinea and Indonesia,northeast along the Asian coastline, east to North America and then south along the western NorthAmerican coastline. Roughly horse-shoe shaped, the Ring of Fire extends about 40,000km long, andtsunamis can be generated anywhere along this rim.Tsunamis may also be caused by underwater landslides or volcanic eruptions. They may even belaunched, as they frequently were in Earth’s ancient past, by the impact of a large meteorite plunginginto an ocean.
Tsunamis race across the sea at up to 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hourabout as fast as a jetairplane. At that pace they can cross the entire expanse of the Pacific Ocean in less than a day. Andtheir long wavelengths mean they lose very little energy along the way.
In deep ocean, tsunami waves may appear only a foot or so high. But as they approach shoreline andenter shallower water they slow down and begin to grow in energy and height. The tops of the wavesmove faster than their bottoms do, which causes them to rise precipitously.Tsunamis are a frequent occurrence in Japan; approximately 195 events have been recorded.
 Due tothe immense volumes of water and energy involved, tsunamis can devastate coastal regions.
HISTORICAL EXAMPLES OF DISASTER INCIDENTS/MOST RECENT INCIDENT
the
historian
inquired in his book 
 about the causes of tsunami, and was the first to argue that ocean earthquakes must be the cause.
 
TheRomanhistorianAmmianus Marcellinusdescribed the typical sequence of a tsunami, including an incipient earthquake, the sudden retreat of the sea and a following gigantic wave, after the 365 A.D.tsunamidevastated Alexandria.
 
The2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamikilled over 200,000 people with many bodies either being lost to the sea or unidentified.    According to an article in
magazine (April 2008),the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004was not the worst that the region could expect.   It wasanundersea mega thrust earthquakethat occurred at 00:58:53UTCon Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicenter  off the west coast of  Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific communityas the
Sumatra-Andaman earthquake
. The resulting tsunamiis given various names, including the
2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
,
Asian Tsunami
,
Indonesian Tsunami
, and
Boxing Day Tsunami
.The earthquake was caused bysubductionand triggered a series of devastatingtsunamisalong the coasts of most landmasses bordering theIndian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteencountries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30meters (100feet) high. It was one of thedeadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesiawas the hardest hit, followed bySri Lanka,India, andThailand. With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is thethird largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 cm (0.4 inches)
]
and triggered other earthquakes as far away asAlaska. Itshypocenter  was betweenSimeulue and mainland Indonesia.
HISTORIC TSUNAMIS IN THE UNITED STATES 
Twenty-four tsunamis have caused damage in the United States and its territories during the last 204years. Just since 1946, six tsunamis have killed more than 350 people and damaged a half billiondollars of property on Hawaii, Alaska and the West Coast.Tsunamis have historically been rare in Oregon. Since 1812, Oregon has experienced about a dozentsunamis with wave heights greater than 3 feet; some of these were destructive. Ten of these weregenerated by distant earthquakes near Alaska, Chile or Japan. The worst damage and loss of liferesulted from the 1964 Alaskan earthquake.The most recent tsunami happened in Alaska and the warning system classified as low gave theinformation below.
2011/02/12 00:50:50 (UTC)
Preliminary Magnitude:
4.0
Latitude:
58.888
Longitude:
-157.589
Location:
35 miles/56 Km SE of Dillingham, AlaskaDESCRIPTION OF DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE DISASTER 
Damage to human lives
Tsunamis are capable of causing a substantial amount of damage. One tsunami can destroy an entirecoastal village and remove all the sand from a beach and sand that took hundreds of years toaccumulate. Below are examples of the destructive power of tsunamis:
New Guinea - July 17, 1998At 6:49 PM on July 17, 1998, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale shook thewestern Bismark Sea. Almost twenty minutes later, a series of 3 giant tsunami waves crashed onto the shore of New Guinea between Aitape and Serai. Over 2200 Villagers were crushed anddrowned while the over 10,000 survivors were left homeless
 
Kalapana, Hawaii - November29, 1975
On November 29, 1975, an earthquake with an intensity of 7.2 shook the town of Kalapana,
 
Hawaii. Within a few minutes, a 47-foot tall tsunami crushed the town, resulting in propertydamage of over 4.1 million dollars and claiming the lives of two innocent people.
Damage to plant, animal life and the earth’s landscape
Upon impact, tsunami waves are capable of dislodging any land formations, foliage and nearby bodiesof water. As the power behind these waves pushes them inward, ocean waters can reach several milesinland. As a result, fresh water lakes become contaminated with salt water, while salt sedimentation isembedded in the lakes' soil. Runoff from inland areas can leave trash and silt to rest in lake waters.Resulting damage from tsunami waves dislodges existing flora and fauna, leaving leftover sedimentation to smother undersea corals and grasses. Costal forestation undergoes significant damage,and can be totally wiped out under severe conditions. As waters begin to recede, non-biodegradabledebris is swept through inland areas and dragged into the ocean waters. Contaminated soil in whichcrops and vegetation are grown kills off bacteria populations needed to maintain the soil's ecosystem.
ANALYSIS OF HOW HUMAN ACTIVITY IMPACTED THE EFFECTS OF THE DISASTER 
Coastal villages who make their living from the ocean/waters are the ones that feel the most impact of this natural disaster.  It cannot be helped that people who live by the ocean as well as the islandcommunities will be most fully affected.  The more people there are in these villages, the more theywill suffer including their livelihood such as fishing, tourism as well as maintaining livestock and cropsaround the area.  Also, these areas are typically tourist destinations because of beaches and islandparadise with a lot of water recreational activities.  They are in a lot of danger and will cost millions of dollars when damaged.
OUTCOME FOR THE AFFECTED ECOSYSTEM FROM THE DISASTER 
It is very hard to determine any positive effects of a tsunami.  Ecosystems that lie along coastal linesinclude mangrove forests, sea grasses, coral reefs and wetlands. Each of these ecosystems is dependenton the others for nutrient supplies. The elimination of one or more systems may permanently alter theoverall environmental status. Coral reef structures destroyed in the wake of a tsunami also kill off anyexisting fish populations. This absence can lead to a significant break in an ecosystem's food chain, andultimately work to eliminate species that are dependent on that food supply. Soil exposed to saltysedimentation loses its fertility, and so becomes sterile. As result, soil located in agricultural areas mustbe re-cultivated, which is a long, costly process. Tsunami waves can also cause the erosion of costalterrains which will continue to erode for years afterward. As new terrains grow in, the surroundingecosystems may never be the same.  As you can see, there may be no positive outcome due to a tsunamiexcept that new ecosystems can grow, the soil can be rested but it will take a long time before weprobably see any positive effects from this disaster.

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