Learning about Tsunamis

Traditional Tsunami Characteristics

Tsunami are a wave or series of waves formed when water moves under the influence of gravity so that it ripples. They are also formed when an earthquake ( colliding of tectonic plates) happens on the sea floor, creating vertical displacement.
Caught on Tape: Tsunami hits Japan port town

Science Behind a Tsunami

Tsunamis can have wavelengths anywhere from 10 to 500 km long, with periods of up to an hour. Because their wavelengths are so long, they act as shallow water wavelengths, that is, until they reach shore. A shallow-water wave means that the wavelength is very large in comparison to the water depth. The amplitude of a tsunami is determined by the displacement of the sea floor. Tsunamis ca travel long distances without losing a lot of energy. The waves can undergo refraction, bending of waves, that allows it to keep its energy.