The Phenomena of Tsunamis

Text by: Parashie Sidhwani

The first tsunami ever recorded was off the coast of Syria over four thousand years ago. Yes, four thousand. Tsunamis have been discovered so long ago and they are still present today, surviving evolution no matter what changed, which means they will stay with us forever and ever.

The first giant tsunami was recorded off the land volcano of Krakatoa, Indonesia, as it exploded in 1883, the tsunamis swept as far away as the English Channel; so you can imagine the intensity of this natural phenomenon.  

What do you think, how many tsunamis would have taken place until now? There have been more than a thousand tsunamis, but let’s talk about the most crucial ones that have occurred in the past century. The tsunami with the highest runup was the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami, which had a record height of 524 m (1,719 ft). The only other recent megatsunamis are the 1980 Spirit Lake megatsunami, which measured 260 m (850 ft) tall and the 1963 Vajont Dam megatsunami which had an initial height of 250 m (820 ft). Furthermore, a tsunami caused by a landslide during the 1964 Alaska earthquake also reached a height of 70 m (230 ft), making it one of the largest tsunamis in recorded history.

A tsunami hitting Japan in 2011. Photo source: Internet

A tsunami hitting Japan in 2011. Photo source: Internet

Thinking of those giant big waves sends chills down most people’s spine and that is solely because of the major impact these forces of nature have, especially on human settlements. A tsunami’s tidal waves batter the shoreline and can destroy anything in their path. When a tsunami’s tidal waves hit the shoreline, it can destroy anything in their line of sight. Not only that, once the waves have destroyed the infrastructure on the shore, they continue destroying anything that comes in its way as it keeps spreading inland for several kilometers. In short, nothing can survive the wrath of tsunamis.

Now you must be wondering, what causes these calamitous natural forces? As described by, What Causes a Tsunami? a detailed article published in March 201i – “The friction between two slow-moving plates of the Earth’s crust creates vast amounts of seismic energy which is released in the form of an earthquake. When a strong undersea earthquake strikes a relatively short distance below the seafloor, it abruptly pushes up one of the immense plates of the Earth’s crust. That suddenly displaces an enormous amount of ocean water which becomes a tsunami, spreading outward in every direction from the epicenter of earthquake-like ripples on a pond, only on a much larger scale.”

Even though we can ‘t stop tsunamis, the one thing we can do is being prepared. In order to brace ourselves for these monsters, it is extremely important to follow a few guidelines. This includes:

  • If the towns and cities are situated next to the shores, establish a pre-planned evacuation route. The same has to be informed and trained to the residential areas, schools, hospitals and commercial areas, especially those areas that would be at high risk.
  • Prerably pick areas that are at least 100 feet above the sea level or go more than 3 kms inland, away from the coastline.
  • Radio can be a fantastic tool to keep the locals informed of local watches and warnings. But mind you, stay clear of fake news and messages regarding a Tsunami being broadcast on social media, especially Whatsapp.
  • Making people aware and training them with disaster medical kit to help injured people.
  • Creating awareness among locals of the nearest disaster management cell.
  • Educating the locals, students and adults in schools and colleges on how to respond when a tsunami hits can help minimize damage.

Even these tiny, little steps can make a very big difference, because, who knows when these giant waves are going to hit us? As Alexander Graham Bell mentions, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. So, let’s stand together and fight together and battle these tidal bores!

Parashie Sidhwani

Parashie Sidhwani

About our writing program student:

Parashie Sidhwani is a Grade 9 student at Oberoi International School, Mumbai. She is greatly passionate about tennis, art, piano, and writing. Although she dreamt of being an astronaut at NASA, she wishes to pursue journalism or architecture in the future. 

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References:

N.a. “What are Tsunamis?.” Usgs.gov. n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2020. <https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-are-tsunamis?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products>.

N.a. “Tsunami Early Warning System – Prepare for a tsunami.” Cwarn.org. n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2020. <https://cwarn.org/tsunami/be-prepared>

N.a. “What are Tsunamis?.” Usgs.gov. n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2020. <https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-are-tsunamis?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products>

zinkesh. “40 Facts About Tsunami – Conserve Energy Future.” Conserve Energy Future. 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Jan. 2020. <https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/name=various-tsunami-facts>.

N.a. “Ecological Consequences of Natural Disasters: Tsunami.” Wwf.panda.org. n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2020. <https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/teacher_resources/webfieldtrips/natural_disasters/>.

 

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