Tsunami/Phase 1/Lesson1 1

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You will be learning to define tsunami, describe how they occur and identify warning signs, man-made and natural.

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Survival Agent

It is important for anyone to understand what a tsunami is, but as the SA for your region you also need to know what causes them: how and why they occur. This information will not only help you to identify a tsunami, but will also help you guard against them in the most effective ways.

What is a tsunami?

Tsunami are fast-moving, dangerous waves or series of waves. They are caused by large volumes of ocean water being moved by a major disturbance (such as a landslide, volcanic eruption, earthquake or meteorite.) When the wave or waves hit a shoreline, massive destruction to people and property can occur.

The word tsunami is Japanese, meaning 'harbour wave'.

What causes a tsunami?

Tsunami occur due to:

  • large underwater or coastal earthquakes, in which there is significant movement of the seafloor or coast
  • underwater landslides (which may be triggered by an earthquake or volcanic activity)
  • large coastal cliff or lakeside landslides
  • underwater volcanic eruptions.