What is a Tsunami?

Tsunamis are ocean waves generated by a sudden change of the ocean water level, most often caused by earthquakes, but also by landslides, volcanic eruptions, and comet or meteorite impacts in the ocean.

  • Is like a fast rising flood or an advancing wall of water and strikes with devastating force.
  • Moves faster than you can run.
  • Is a series of waves that may continue for hours.  The first wave may not be the last or the most dangerous.

Why are Tsunamis Dangerous?

As the tsunami crosses the deep ocean, it may be only a  few feet or less in height.  As the tsunami approaches the shore, the wave height increases and associated currents intensify, becoming a threat to life and property.  There is usually little time to forecast the severity of a tsunami after one is generated.  Large ares of coastline can be inundated by a tsunami.