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5 Tsunamis

5 Tsunamis

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Published by: Fred Mednick, Founder on Jun 29, 2012
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01/05/2014

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Primer on Tsunami Preparednessand Coping Strategies
This primer will help you in preparing yourself before and during thedisaster caused by tsunami, and how to cope with such a disaster.
A. Understanding Tsunamis
1. What are tsunamis?
Tsunamis are waves that are produced when water in the sea issuddenly moved or displaced. The cause of movement is oftentimes a largeearthquake that takes place underwater.
2. How does an earthquake cause tsunamis?
A tsunami is generated when a big mass of water is suddenly moved.This may happen when the seafloor itself moves. The seafloor may jerkupward or downward. The sudden movement produces an earthquake. It alsomoves the water mass above the seafloor, creating tsunami waves thattravel rapidly away.
 
 
3. Are there other causes of tsunamis?
Yes. A tsunami may also be generated if a volcano erupts under shallowwaters. The force of the eruption will push the water above it, creatingtsunami waves. Big landslides that take place underwater or by the coast canalso form tsunamis. A large meteorite falling from outer space may alsoproduce tsunamis, but this is rare.
4. How big are tsunami waves?
The size of tsunami waves depends on the depth of the water. Out inthe deep sea, they are rather low, usually less than a meter high. This meansthey look like ordinary waves and they usually pass unnoticed by people onships. But when tsunamis reach shallower waters, they may rise up to 30meters, roughly the height of a 10-story building.
5. How fast are tsunami waves?
In the deep sea, the waves may be as fast as a jet plane, travelling 900km in an hour. But when the waves reach the shallow waters near land, theyslow down. For example, at a water depth of 15 meters, the speed would beabout 45 km/hr. But a wave moving at that speed would still be too fast torun away from.
6. What happens when tsunamis encounter land?
Each wave slows down and grows into a towering wall of water. The wavepushes forward with the weight of the ocean behind it. Houses and buildingscollapse, roads are washed away, people and animals are snatched out to sea,and everything not strongly anchored to the ground are swept away. Inaddition, the flood waters uproot trees, bust water pipes, and contaminatewater wells.
 
Gleebruk Village, Indonesia before and after the December 2004 tsunamiPhotos courtesy of DigitalGlobe
7. Which places are prone to tsunamis?
All coastal areas may be hit by tsunamis, even those thousands ofkilometers away from the source. That’s because tsunamis can start offfrom one side of the ocean and travel all the way to the other side. But theareas around the Pacific Ocean are especially prone to tsunamis because ofthe large earthquakes that happen there.
8. What are the signs that a tsunami is coming?
The sea rapidly retreats and the sea bottom is exposed for hundreds ofmeters. When you see this, you must leave the place immediately. You onlyhave a few minutes to escape before the destructive tsunamis arrive.

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