Not just a life changing- but an environment altering event


It is important to know that a geohazard is a geological state that has the potential to damage a landscape; This knowledge can help to define a tsunami as a Geohazard. A Tsunami (Seismic sea wave) is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a larger volume of water. These waves can reach hundreds of feet high and is influenced by the topography of the ocean floor and shorelines. They are caused by sudden displacements in the sea floor, landslides, or volcanic activity; hence they can not be prevented, but it is our job to be prepared. According to the government site 'READY', "All tsunamis are potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage every coastline they strike. A tsunami can strike anywhere along most of the U.S. coastline. The most destructive tsunamis have occurred along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii." The most common cause of death in the occurrence of a tsunami is drowning; This is due to the fact that if an earthquake disturbs the sea floor near the shoreline, even with a warning the wave can hit within a few minutes. In the case of a tsunami you would want to seek higher ground and you want to do this fast! These waves can move at miles per minute and if you haven't reached high ground you are at risk of being swept away.

The following are things you can do to be prepared for a tsunami;

Create and practice an evacuation plan- you should be able to reach your destination in under 15 minutes, in inclement weather, and at night. It is important to know your communities evacuation plan because in the event of a tsunami, you may have to pick your children up from school and most phone lines, transportation routes, etc. will be jammed.

During a tsunami;

Follow the evacuation order and move inland to higher ground immediately. STAY AWAY FROM THE BEACH. Do not go to watch the tsunami come in, if you can see the wave, you are too close and can not escape it. If there is noticeable water recession, move away immediately, this is natures tsunami warning and it should be heeded. Be sure to help your neighbors! Save yourself not your possessions.

After a tsunami;

Check yourself for injuries and seek medical attention if necessary.

Stay away from debris in the water, it may be a potential safety hazard. Tsunami water can cause floors to crack and walls to collapse, so stay away from buildings with water in them. Avoid disastrous areas and do not return to "at-risk" zones until advisers tell you it is safe to do so. A tsunami is a SERIES of waves, so do not expect the danger to be over after the first. These waves can come for hours, each bigger than the next.

Units of Measurement

Earth quakes are measured on the Moment Magnitude scale;

3-5 is considered minor

5-7 is considered moderate

7-8 is considered major

Anything over 8 is considered a "great" quake

Tsunami's are measured by their physical aspects- wave height and wave length.

Tsunami Occurrences

According to the NOAA, September 16, 2015 a tsunami hit Chile. This tsunami occurred when a powerful 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile. 1 million were evacuated when the city noticed flooding and power loss (95% had lost power), This tsunami killed 524 people and injured hundreds. Chile is one of the most earthquake prone areas in the world and because of this, they were prepared.

In Japan of March 2011, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake shook Northeast Japan and triggered a tsunami. The waves reached 33 feet and many were injured, 60 dead as of that Friday. Boats, Cars, homes, and people were swept away and massive damage to the environment occurred (loss of habitat, loss of land, etc).

By Anna Judge