By: Marissa Speary

What is a tsunami and what happens?

A tsunami is a large series of sea waves produced by a seaquake or undersea volcanic eruption at tectonic plate boundaries, it can reach up to over 100 ft and its generally in an ocean or large lake. When the ocean floor at a plate boundary rises or falls suddenly it displaces the water above it and launches the rolling waves that will become a tsunami.

Why a tsunami is hazardous to people and the environement

You know when you're belly flopping into the pool and the water is colliding with your stomach causing a very painful, stingy reaction? Well when a tsunami hits land its 100 times worse. A tsunami can destroy homes, kill thousands of people and animals, and it can destroy trees or practically anything in the environment.

Tsunamis are more vulnerable where?

Tsunamis are very vulnerable, hazardous and occur often in the Pacific Ocean. Large zones in the Caribbean are also vulnerable. These areas are known as the "Ring of Fire".

Distructive nature of a Tsunami

Tsunamis rank high on the scale of natural disasters. Since 1850 alone, tsunamis have been responsible for the loss of over 420,000 lives and billions of dollars of damage to coastal structures and habitats. Most of these casualties were caused by local tsunamis that occur about once per year somewhere in the world.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

On December 26, 2004 around 8 a.m., waves of 15m hit the coastlines of Sumatra, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, with another report saying the tsunami reached up to 30m in some areas. The waves were traveling at the speed of a jet airliner. The tsunami was travelling with so much energy it went as far as 5,000km to Africa, where it still had enough force to destroy property and kill people. In total, 14 countries were affected by the disaster. These were India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles. Up to five million people were affected by the tsunami but only 230,000 people were killed. This was definitely one of the world's deadliest tsunamis.

2011 Japan Tsunami

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m., a 9.0 magnitude earthquake takes place 231 miles northeast of Tokyo at a depth of 15.2 miles. The earthquake caused a tsunami with 30-foot waves that damage several nuclear reactors in the area. This tsunami ended up killing 15,893 people.

Ways to plan for a Tsunami

1) Learn about tsunami risk in your community.

2) If you are visiting an area at risk from tsunamis, check with the hotel, motel, or campground operators for tsunami evacuation information and how you would be warned.

If you are in risk do the following:

1) Plan an evacuation route from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you'll be where tsunamis present a risk.

2) Practice your evacuation route.

3) Use a radio to keep informed of local watches and warnings.

4) Talk to your insurance agent.

5) Discuss tsunami with your family.

6) Make a evacuation kit.