A tsunami is caused by tectonic plates stopping or moving which causes an earthquake, volcanic activity and possibly underwater disruption. A tsunami is one of the world’s most catastrophic and devastating events. Unlike a normal wave: a tsunami is made by the displacement of water, where as a normal wave is made by the moons gravitational pull.
Tsunamis can sometimes be called a tidal wave, although they are not actually tidal and that is why scientists don’t refer to them as that.
A tsunami is not just one wave, it is several waves at different heights and lengths every time a wave comes. Also tsunamis can have a range of time from minutes to hours.
What scientists don’t understand is why some big earthquakes don’t form tsunamis but small ones do.
In the late 5th century BC, the Greek historian Thucydides thought that tsunamis were related to the submarine earthquakes and from then on everyone thought that Thucydides understanding of tsunamis was quite slim. Up until the 20th century the understandings of tsunamis were correct but there was still a lot to learn.
The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
That particular event was one of the most devastating events that killed many people (230,000 – 280,000 people roughly , in 14 countries) off the Indian Ocean coastline. This event occurred on 26th December at 00:58:53.
This particular tsunami was the third largest ever recorded on a seismograph. It also caused the whole planet to move a centimetre.
This tsunami was caused by the Indian tectonic plate moving/stopping, which triggered many different waves in the 14 countries.
The waves were up to 30 metres high (100ft).
Here is a list of the countries that were affected
- Sri Lanka
Here is an example of the destruction caused by this catastrophic event.