You are on page 1of 3

HalleFiagle

April5,2015
Geog1700403
Wilson

TheScienceBehindImpossibility

The2012film,TheImpossible,directedbyJ.A.Bayonatellsamiraculousstoryofthe
survivalofafamilythroughthe2004IndianOceantsunami.Themoviestartsoffwithafamily
travelingtoThailandfortheirChristmasholiday.OnDecember26,2004,awallofwavescrash
upontheshoreandplummetintothefamilysresort,destroyingeverythinginitspath.However,
onlyashortportionofthefilmisdedicatedtothetsunamiitself,itfocusesontheaftermathof
tryingtoreunitethefamily.Thismakessenseseeinghowtsunamiscreateamonstrosityofchaos
insuchasmallamountoftime.
Tsunamiscanoccurbecauseofanumberofwaves.Landslideandvolcanicdebriscan
fallintotheoceananddisplacethewater,underseavolcanoescanerupt,oranearthquakethatis
shiftingthetectonicplatescan
beacause,asifwasinthis
event.
The9.1earthquakestruck
155kmwestoffofthecoastof
Sumatra,Indonesia
(ReconnaissanceReportonThe
December26,2004Sumatra
EarthquakeandTsunami,
2005).Thetsunamiwascreated
whentheIndianplate
subductedunderneaththe
Burmaplate(Jacobson,2014).
Thiscauseswaterdisplacement
andtheareaabovethefaultline
risesasseeninfigure1.
Thewaterthenspreadsoutina
circularfashion,muchlikethe
ringsthathappenwhena
pebbleisdroppedinwater.Theseringsofwavesgainspeedastheyspreadapart.The2004
tsunamireachedspeedsofupto800kmperhour(CaseStudy:BoxingDayTsunami,2004,
2015).Whilethewavesaremovingrapidly,theirheightisrelativelyshort.Thesewavesnearthe
epicenterhaveshortwavelengthsandhighfrequencies.Meaning,theyoccurveryclosetogether

(Dastrup,2015).Asthesewavesdrifttoshallowerseabed,theydecreaseinspeedandincreasein
theirheight(amplitude).Thisactiscalledshoaling(HowDoTsunamiWork?,2009).Itcanbe
seeninfigure2.Thefrictionbetweenthewaterandtherisingoceanfloorraisesthewaves
(Dastrup,2015).

Astrangephenomenonthathappensisthattheoceanwillrecedebackavaryingdistance
minutesbeforethetsunamiroarsin,exposingtheseafloor(HowDoTsunamiWork?,2009).
Whenthetsunamihits,itappearsinwallsofwatercrashingupontheshoreatincredible
speeds.Thesewavescanbepowerfulenoughtowipeoutentirecities.Thewaterripsapart
buildings,cars,andplantsandcarriesthemalong,smashingintowhateverliesinfront.Tsunamis
canhitinanumberofwaves.
Thefirstwaveisnotalwaysthelargest,andthelastwavemay
notreachlanduntilseveralhoursafterthefirst.(
Tsunamis,2013
).Thiswasshowninthe
movie,asaftertheinitialwavehitandthefamilygrabbedontosafety,anothercameroaring
throughandripeverythingapartagain.
Ifeelthatthemovie,TheImpossible,didagoodjobatdepictingatsunami.Itwas
portrayedasasurpriseevent.Thefamilywereattheirresort,sotheycouldnotseethecoastline
receding.Whentheysawthetsunami,itwastoolateandthewallofwaterengulfedeverything
aroundthem.Thefilmshowedtheforceofthewaterasitmovedalongcarryingdebris.Itdidan
accuratejobofshowcasingthecurrentsstrength,inthatthefamilycouldnoteffectivelyswim
againstit.AsIwatchedit,Ifeltasthosethiswasasclosetoanaccuraterepresentationofthe
2004IndianOceantsunamiasonecouldget.


Bibliography

"CaseStudy:BoxingDayTsunami,2004."
GCSE:Bitesize
.BBC.Web.5Apr.2015.

Dastrup,R.Adam."Chapter6:Tsunamis."
OpenGeographyEducation
.CreativeCommons
Attribution.Web.5Apr.2015.

"HowDoTsunamiWork?"
TsunamiEducationandAwareness
.AustralianGovernmentand
SLSATrainingResource,1Jan.2009.Web.5Apr.2015.

HowTsunamisWork:Tsunamigenesis
.Digitalimage.
HowStuffWorks
.1Jan.2004.Web.

Jacobson,Rebecca."TheDayThatChangedTsunamiScience."
PBS
.NewsHourProductions
LLC.,24Dec.2014.Web.5Apr.2015.

"ReconnaissanceReportonTheDecember26,2004SumatraEarthquakeandTsunami."
CAEE
.
TheCanadianAssociationforEarthquakeEngineering,1June2005.Web.5Apr.2015.

TheImpossible
.Perf.NaomiWatts,EwanMcGregor,TomHolland.Lionsgate,2012.DVD.

Tsunami
.Digitalimage.
ExamPariksha
.Web.

"Tsunamis."
ThomasReutersFoundation
.ThomasReutersFoundation,9Apr.2013.Web.5
Apr.2015.