It’s a great day out, you and your family are going to a beach. While you are swimming, the ground starts to shake, and beach chairs flip over. You think it is a earthquake, so you run to safety. Minutes later, the shaking stopped. You then walk to the beach again. You are happy that you have survived. In the distance, however, you see a HUGE wave. You must think, oh no! The tides are switching, but what is really happening is, is that a tsunami is heading towards you.Tsunami: Definition & Creation Tsunamis are massive waves that could cause huge amounts of destruction. The word Tsunami comes from a Japanese word meaning: “tsu” means harbour and “nami” meaning wave. Tsunamis were once called tidal waves, but that name didn’t fit because it wasn’t related to the tides the earth has. Learning about the creation of tsunamis are very important. Tsunamis are created from a series of waves, caused by displacement of water such as, a landslide, an asteroid hit, or most commonly, an earthquake. Then gravity acts quickly and pulls the water down which results into a ton of energy. According to the people who have survived tsunamis, they say it sounds like standing near a moving freight train. Tsunamis are very unpredictable because you will never know when water will be displaced by land. When tsunamis are near the coast, they slow down and gain height, and usually withdraw water near the coast. Since tsunamis only gain in height near land, passing fishing boat may not even notice since the waves usually come to about a foot high. One way that might increase your understanding of tsunamis is to go to a lake or a pond nearby and throw a pebble. It doesn’t just create one wave, it can create a tiny wave train. Comparing that to tsunamis is very similar, since the pebble is displacing water.Signs of A Tsunami Tsunamis have ways to warn people, just like tornadoes and hurricanes. Scientists are only beginning to understand these unpredictable waves, but they have a new way to warn people when a tsunami is on its way. There are tsunami warnings systems attached to buoys in the ocean that transmit data about the ocean and serve as a warning system. Animals can also sense a tsunami approaching because of their strong sense of hearing. For example, some cats would be hiding 12 hours before the tsunami, dogs may not want to go on the beach for a morning walk as usual, animals such as goats showed obvious signs of fear, elephants in a zoo went to high ground, and snakes came out of their holes. The point is, animals may help warning us when a tsunami may be on its way. Historic TsunamisThere have been several famous historic tsunamis in the past. Tsunamis that are around 100 feet tall are just regular tsunamis, but tsunamis that are a lot more higher than 100 feet are called mega-tsunamis. The most devastating tsunami happened about 65 million years ago, when a asteroid hit the present – day gulf of mexico. The energy was so much that it created a wave 3 ½ miles high, higher than the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. It didn’t quite reach Mt. Everest, which was 5 ½ miles high, though. The energy was so powerful, that it created an explosion more than 10,000 of the most powerful nuclear bomb ever made. This asteroid also possibly lead extinction to the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. The next well known one was in alaska on July 9, 1958 with a wave of exactly 1720 feet tall. The only other way a mega-tsunami will happen is either when a large asteroid hits earth, or the canary islands. One of the canary islands may collapse, and if so, it could create a wave around 3000 feet tall, wiping the entire east coast of the united states. But there is a rare chance of that happening. Most recent tsunamisOne of the most recent and deadly tsunami is the Japanese Tsunami 2011 caused by an undersea earthquake with a number 9.0 on the richter scale and created a wave 128 feet tall. This earthquake went 6 miles inland in some places. Another one that is fairly recent is the indian ocean tsunami 2004 when an earthquake struck the Indian Ocean and struck 14 countries with waves around 100 feet tall, as tall as an eleven story building. Tsunamis are very unpredictable, but people are just starting to learn about these monster waves. Whenever you are at the beach, and a earthquake occurs, then get out of the area! It is very important, and we should learn that thinking about tsunamis in the future is important. – James Douglas


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