A tsunami is a series of large waves generated by the sudden displacement of water during an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite impact. Tsunami can cause incredible destruction to coastal communities, crushing structures under their enormous weight, and quickly drowning man and beast or sweeping them away to perish at sea.
The death toll of a tsunami could be greatly reduced if coastal communities could be warned of its approach. In this activity, you will explore different warning signs and systems, and learn how to respond to an approaching tsunami.
Tsunami prediction is complicated by a number of scientific uncertainties. For example, the formation and behavior of a tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake depends upon the size of the quake, the speed and direction of earth movement, the shape and depth of the ocean basin, the orientation and slope of coastlines, and so on. Despite the challenges of predicting tsunami, many scientists who do so think they have the easy job - the harder task falls on the local authorities who must get their citizens to safety. What are some of the problems of warning the public and getting them to evacuate ahead of a tsunami?