How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel?

How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel

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How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel Houses above the inundation zone in this Japanese village survived intact, while everything below was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. (Image credit: Patrick Corcoran, Oregon State University) Maybe the fastest man in the world could run a 6-minute mile for 6 miles (10 kilometers) while a terrifying wall of water chased him through a coastal city. But most people couldn’t. Yet a myth persists that a person could outrun a tsunami.

That’s just not possible, tsunami safety experts told LiveScience, even for Usain Bolt, one of the world’s quickest sprinters. Getting to high ground or high elevation is the only way to survive the monster waves.

«I try to explain to people that it doesn’t really matter how fast [the wave] is coming in, the point is that you really shouldn’t be there in the first place,» said Rocky Lopes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Tsunami Mitigation, Education and Outreach program.

But because they didn’t know the warning signals, ignored them or just couldn’t get to safety in time, more than 200,000 people died in tsunamis in the past decade. And it’s not just tsunamis: Underestimating the power of the ocean kills thousands every year in hurricane storm surges.

Stay off the beach A tsunami is a series of waves caused by a sudden underwater earth movement. The kick-off is akin to dropping a big rock in a children’s pool filled with water. In an ocean basin, tsunami waves slosh back and forth, reflecting off coastlines, just like the (much smaller) waves in a child’s pool, Lopes said. How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel Tsunamis gain height as they approach the shore. (Image credit: NOAA) Because many people mistakenly think a tsunami is a single wave, some return to the beach after the first wave hits, Lopes said. On March 11, 2011, a man in Klamath River, Calif. , died after he was swept away by a second wave while taking pictures of the Japan tsunami , Lopes said.

Tsunamis race across the deep ocean at jet speed, some 500 mph (800 km/h). Near shore, the killer waves slow to between 10 to 20 mph (16 to 32 km/h) and gain height. If the offshore slope is gentle and gradual, the tsunami will likely come in looking like a rapidly approaching tide.

If the transition from deep ocean to shoreline is steep and cliff-like , then the wave will resemble a movie-like specter, arriving as an onrushing wall of water. [ Waves of Destruction: History’s Biggest Tsunamis ] Look and listen for warning signs Either way, standing at the beach, at sea level, means losing perspective.

«It’s a matter of optical illusion and how fast your eye interprets the speed of moving water,» Lopes said. «People just can’t estimate the speed of the wave, and [so they] get themselves in trouble. » Linger too long and you may run out of time to find somewhere safe.

«If they’re on the beach, there’s no way in heck they’re going to outrun it,» said Nathan Wood, a tsunami modeler with the U. Geological Survey in Portland, Ore. «Technically, if you’re 10 blocks in, and the waves are full of debris [and slowing from friction], there’s a chance, but for most people that’s not realistic,» he said.

So if the beach starts shaking or the ocean looks or sounds strange, head for the highest elevation around immediately. «Sometimes the only warning you may get are these environmental clues,» Lopes said.

«These are the indicators that you are in serious danger. » High ground is best in situations like these; steel-reinforced concrete buildings or parking structures work in a pinch, but even climbing trees will help if nothing else is available. Some people who sought refuge in trees survived the 1960 Chile tsunami, though others were torn from their branches.

  • Why people put themselves at risk Another fatal mistake people make when fleeing from tsunamis is underestimating how far the water can travel inland, Lopes said;
  • In this graphic video of the 2011 Japan tsunami, shot from a hillside, residents fleeing the tsunami are nearly caught by the powerful wave even after it had already destroyed half the town;

Tsunamis can travel as far as 10 miles (16 km) inland, depending on the shape and slope of the shoreline. Hurricanes also drive the sea miles inward, putting people at risk. But even hurricane veterans may ignore orders to evacuate. As with tsunamis, a lack of understanding lays at the heart of this willingness to risk everything, according to studies by NOAA. How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel Storm surge floods a section of Coast Guard Station New York, located on Staten Island, as Hurricane Sandy approaches New York Harbor, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. (Image credit: U. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson. ) Hurricane evacuation orders are due to dangers from storm surges , not wind, Rhome explained. «People are enamored with the wind, but it’s storm surge that has the greatest potential to take life,» he said.

  1. «We’ve consulted with social scientists and communications experts, and the number one reason why people stay is that they don’t understand storm surge,» said Jaime Rhome, storm surge team leader at the National Hurricane Center in Miami;

«The majority of deaths occurring in hurricanes are from drowning, not wind. » Storm surge is the force of hurricane winds driving the ocean landward, which raises sea level. The water penetrates miles inland. Waves kicked up by the hurricane travel on top of the storm surge , pounding everything in their path.

  1. People who go out in the surge — residents who wait too long to evacuate, for example — may find themselves knocked off their feet and swept away;
  2. «People have a hard time imagining seawater can come that far inland,» Rhome said;

«They can’t envision the ocean can rise that high or be that violent. » Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect the March 11,  2011, U. tsunami death was at Klamath River, Calif. , not Crescent City, Calif. Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin.

Follow us @livescience , Facebook  & Google+. Original article on LiveScience. com. Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics.

She earned a master’s degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz..

How far inland do you have to be to be safe from a tsunami?

If no maps or signs are available, go to an area 100 feet above sea level or two miles inland, away from the coast. If you cannot get this far, go as high as possible. Every foot inland or upwards can make a difference. Decide where to meet if you become separated.

How far inland can a 1000 Ft tsunami go?

Where Will the Water Reach? — Am I in danger? Where Will the Water Reach? Tsunami waves can continously flood or inundate low lying coastal areas for hours. Flooding can extend inland by 300 meters (~1000 feet) or more, covering large expanses of land with water and debris.

Tsunami inundation is the horizontal, inland penetration of waves from the shoreline. Flooding can extend inland by 300 meters (~1000 feet) or more, covering large expanses of land with water and debris.

Inundation distances can vary greatly along the shorelines, depending on the intensity of the tsunami waves, the undersea features, and the land topographic elevations. One coastal community may see no damaging wave activity, while another nearby community can be attacked by large and violent waves.

When the tsunami reaches the coast and moves inland, the water level can rise many meters. The first wave may not be the largest in the series of waves. Tsunami inundation is the horizontal, inland penetration of waves from the shoreline.

Inundation distances can vary greatly along the shorelines, depending on the intensity of the tsunami waves, the undersea features, and the land topographic elevations. One coastal community may see no damaging wave activity, while another nearby community can be attacked by large and violent waves. .

How far inland would a 200 foot tsunami travel?

As we recall the December 2004 tsunami that wreaked death and destruction in Indonesia and watch in horror the current coverage of the disastrous tsunami in Japan, a reasonable question is: Could a tsunami strike the East Coast, including one significantly impacting the Washington D.

area? The short answer is YES, though with much lower probability and generally not as catastrophic as a tsunami hitting the West Coast. However, while there is no indication it could happen soon (but could), there are scientifically sound reasons for concern that at some point a mega-tsunami could engulf the entire East Coast with a wave almost 200 feet high sweeping everything and everybody up to 20 miles inland.

The consequences of such a relatively unlikely but very possible event in loss of life and property are inestimable and beyond the realm of imagination (at least for me). (Note: Not withstanding covering the potential catastrophe associated with space weather and tsunami possibilities here, please trust that I am just reporting and not a wild-eyed irrational prophet of doom.

This is real science, not science fiction. ) Most large tsunamis occur in the Pacific and originate along the hotbed of seismic activity (earthquakes and volcanism) referred to as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Tsunamis, such as the 2004 Indonesian and recent Japan catastrophes occur in response to the sudden vertical uplift of tremendous volumes of water by an earthquake where one tectonic plate slides beneath another ( subduction ). By contrast, the Atlantic Ocean is home to much less seismic and volcanic activity than the Pacific and, in particular, lacks subduction zones which are most common source of tsunami-causing earthquakes. How Far Inland Can A Tsunami Travel However, tsunamis affecting the East Coast are much more likely to be caused by earthquakes, which alone would not likely produce a tsunami, but could indirectly by causing underwater or island landslides that vertically displace large volumes of water. The most noteworthy in recent history occurred in 1929 when a tsunami was generated by a submarine landslide triggered by a major earthquake (magnitude 7. 1) 250 miles south of Newfoundland (and felt as far south as New York). Tsunami wave heights ranged from about 6 to 23 feet and were concentrated on the coast of Newfoundland (killing 28 people) but recorded as far south as South Carolina.

Some other tsunamis affecting the East Coast include: • November 14, 1840 — Delaware River: referred to as «The Great Swell on the Delaware River» • January 9, 1926 – Maine: No one was injured, but «monster waves» hurled 50 fishing boats ashore and washed thousands of flounder from their winter beds in the Harbor bottom mud».

• Aug 19, 1931 Atlantic City, NJ 3 Dead • Sep 21, 1938 New Jersey coast Scores injured, some seriously • Jul 3-4, 1992 Daytona Beach, FL 75 injured Additionally, there are many confirmed and unconfirmed tsunami events that resulted in localized flooding.

  • Unfortunately documentation of these and other comparable events, including their origin, are sparse but believed to be associated directly or indirectly with relatively nearby earthquakes;
  • None in the contemporary record came close to being as disastrous as those we’ve seen in the Pacific;
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But this does not mean it cannot happen, and in fact probably will. What cannot be foretold at this time is when. Scientists have established at least two time bombs that could lead to a mega-tsunami hitting the U. East Coast. The first is a submarine landslide at the edge of the continental shelf off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina where unstable sections of the shelf could collapse into the trenches of the deep ocean.

Should that occur scientists believe an 18-foot-high tsunami would propagate towards the coast and strike in a matter of hours. The second time bomb is a mega-tsunami caused by a massive landslide as a large section of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands in the Eastern Atlantic, collapses into the ocean following a volcanic eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma.

If (when) this occurs, modeling results indicate a wall of water up to 300 feet high would race across the Atlantic and reach the East Coast in about nine hours with devastating effects. A video from a Discovery Channel Special (minutes 3-6) has a vivid portrayal illustrating this phenomenon, including an explanation of why Washington and Philadelphia are particularly vulnerable due to the focusing of wave energy by the shape of the Chesapeake Bay.

An event of this extreme magnitude caused by a landslide into the open ocean is extremely rare. The last one happened 4,000 years ago on the island of Réunion. However, there are growing concerns that the ideal conditions for just such a landslide — and consequent mega-tsunami — now exist on the island of La Palma.

However, there is no agreement on the probability of this occurring in the near future other than to note it is much less likely than large earthquake-driven tsunamis typical of the Pacific basin. Personally, I’d be more worried about hurricanes and tornadoes and even moreso about prospects for a global catastrophe resulting from a worst case scenario solar storm..

How far inland did 2011 tsunami travel?

Death toll of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami The tsunami waves reached run-up heights (how far the wave surges inland above sea level) of up to 128 feet (39 meters) at Miyako city and traveled inland as far as 6 miles (10 km) in Sendai.

How far inland can a 100 ft tsunami go?

Know the tsunami is coming — Most tsunamis are triggered when earthquakes near the seafloor displace a large amount of water. That water gets pushed out as a series of waves that move outwards in all directions. Undersea volcanic eruptions , landslides, and even meteorites can also spark tsunamis.

Out on the sea, these waves can be hundreds of miles long but no taller than a few feet and travel at the speed of a jet plane, up to 500 miles per hour. When the waves approach land, they will slow to about 20 or 30 miles an hour and begin to grow in height.

Most tsunamis are less than 10 feet high when they hit land, but they can reach more than 100 feet high. When a tsunami comes ashore, areas less than 25 feet above sea level and within a mile of the sea will be in the greatest danger. However, tsunamis can surge up to 10 miles inland.

«It’s really just kind of relentless, the water just keeps on coming and coming and coming for a long time,» Garrison-Laney says. The tsunami could resemble a wall of water or, more likely , a rapidly rising flood.

«It’s not going to look like big, curling waves like you see at the beach,» Garrison-Laney says. «It’s really a very turbulent flow that is rising and flowing onto land pretty quickly. » Before this happens, though, there may be a few warning signs. First you’ll need to survive the earthquake, if there was one.

  • After a strong coastal quake, make sure you get to high ground even if an official tsunami warning has not yet been issued;
  • If a local tsunami has been generated it could be mere minutes away;
  • «You cannot wait for the authorities if it’s a significant earthquake and you live along the coast,» says Denis Chang Seng, technical secretary for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and connected seas;

As Denis García discovered in 1960, a tsunami can also cause the ocean to withdraw before it arrives, leaving sand and reefs bare. There may be a roaring noise like a train or jet plane as well. «You have to recognize the warning signs from nature itself,» Chang Seng says.

  • Meanwhile, tsunami tracking centers such as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii or the National Tsunami Warning Center in Alaska will put out an alert;
  • So be on the lookout for official warnings , sirens, and directions from your local authorities;

«You don’t want to hesitate if you know a warning’s been issued or you’ve felt the ground shaking,» says Laura Kong, director of the International Tsunami Information Center in Honolulu. «You want to get going.

How far did the largest tsunami go inland?

1936: Lituya Bay, Alaska The maximum inundation distance was 610 metres (2,000 ft) inland along the north shore of the bay.

Can a tsunami wipe out Earth?

These destructive surges of water are caused by underwater earthquakes. A tsunami is a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet (30. 5 meters), onto land. These walls of water can cause widespread destruction when they crash ashore.

What is the tallest tsunami ever recorded?

Tsunamis are only devastating if people and their livelihoods get in the way, as suggested by the largest tsunami ever recorded which only killed five people. Tsunamis are natural events and disasters are not natural. These series of powerful waves are only devastating if people and their livelihoods get in the way.

To measure the impact of a tsunami you should not measure the size of the wave, but the level of human suffering caused. In fact, the largest tsunami wave ever recorded broke on a cool July night in 1958 and only claimed five lives.

A 1,720 foot tsunami towered over Lituya Bay, a quiet fjord in Alaska, after an earthquake rumbled 13 miles away. This massive tremor triggered around 30. 6 million cubic meters of rock to fall 3,000 feet into the Lituya Glacier, causing a torrent of displaced water to rear up and form a monstrous wave which, miraculously, only killed five people.

  1. Legend (and scientific record) has it that the Gulf of Alaska is no stranger to tsunami;
  2. On a normal day it’s a sleepy landscape of vast mountain ranges topped with snow and ice;
  3. But this docile part of the world has felt some of nature’s most violent behaviour;

The shape of Lituya Bay creates the perfect environment for tsunami to rise and fall and explains why it’s been the tsunami wave record holder for the last 60 years. One of the tallest tsunami waves known to science slammed Lituya Bay in 1958. Evidence of the damage the cataclysmic wave did to the surrounding forest is still visible with Landsat.

Can you survive a tsunami with a life jacket?

Discussion — A typical tsunami has a very high speed of roughly 700 km/h as it emerges from the deep sea, after which it suddenly slows down when it reaches shallow coastal regions where it may retain a relatively high speed of about 40 km/h. At these moments, tsunami waves rear up precipitously and one can realize the Japanese meaning of the word «tsunami» (wave «nami» in a harbor «tsu»).

  • This is when people witness giant surges; tsunami waves will often overcome a majority of witnesses, even if they run away to save their lives;
  • In addition, when a tsunami recedes, the water will sweep away victims and debris from the land to the sea [ 19 ];

As recommended by the Japanese Sanriku coast’s old adage «Tsunami tendenko» («Run uphill on your own will when a tsunami comes»), the first defensive action against any tsunami is to act quickly and seek higher ground immediately. However, since a highly reliable tsunami detection and warning system is still in the developmental stages, people are apt to delay or even ignore evacuations [ 20 – 22 ].

Some of them even deliberately take the opposite direction and head towards the beach to watch the incoming tsunami [ 23 ]. Findings from the systematic literature review indicate that the primary cause of tsunami-related mortality is drowning [ 24 ].

During the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake, the main cause of death was drowning due to the tsunami [ 25 – 27 ]. According to the Japanese National Police Agency’s report based on data obtained from post-mortem certificates after the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake, the cause of death for 14,308 of the 15,786 fatalities (90.

64%) was drowning, while 667 (4. 23%) died from severe impact injuries [ 28 ]. People might be crushed to death by various debris such as that from destroyed houses and buildings, wrecked boats, and cars, which would be whirling in the water, or they might be crushed against a wharf or breakwater and suffer fatal injuries.

Even so, we have to admit that large numbers of people were engulfed in the tsunami waves and drowned in the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find a technique that can prevent drowning. With such a technique, it would be possible to reduce the number of victims who drown and die in tsunamis.

  1. Unfortunately, however, there is a lack of information on the cause of drowning during tsunami disasters;
  2. During the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake, the body of every victim of the tsunami was examined by a forensic doctor or a medical coroner, and through this examination, it was confirmed that the cause of death of almost all the victims was drowning;

However, there were no detailed descriptions beyond drowning in the post-mortem certificates. Why could the tsunami victims not swim? Why were they not able to cling firmly to floating objects on the surface of water? We searched the literature and could not find answers to these important questions.

Hence, we conducted a series of experiments to analyze the cause of drowning during a tsunami. In our experiments, all the heads of dummies not wearing PFDs were entrapped in vortices after the tsunami wave hit them.

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They continued whirling intensively up and down in the water but never came up to the water surface. When tsunamis engulf people below the water surface, and the rate as well as the depth of their breathing increase dramatically, people have no other choice but to inhale water since it would be nearly impossible to swim up to the water surface.

This will greatly increase the risk of drowning. Since tsunamis, whose wavelengths are very long, are generated by the displacement of huge volumes of water, the whirlpools created by them are extremely powerful and continue for a long time.

Therefore, once people without PFDs are caught up in a tsunami, it is very difficult for them to escape from such whirlpools. Even skilled swimmers without PFDs would not be able to resurface quickly and remain afloat. This severe whirling of tsunami waves is likely one of the main factors that cause the overwhelming majority of tsunami victims to drown.

  1. The buoyancy of widely popular PFDs is 7;
  2. 031 kg (15;
  3. 5 lbs) [ 29 ], and the effectiveness of PFDs has been studied for recreational swimming and fishing [ 30 – 32 ];
  4. However, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is a lack of information on the effectiveness of PFDs during catastrophic tsunami disasters;

In our experiments that employed widely popular PFDs, the dummies wearing the PFDs were not dragged underwater. They remained afloat and the heads were higher than the water level. As our experiments demonstrated, it can be concluded that when people are engulfed within tsunami waves, PFDs will provide them with a higher chance of survival because they will remain on the surface of tsunami waves and are still able to breathe.

  • In other words, a PFD is a critical piece of equipment for surviving tsunamis;
  • In critical situations, when a tsunami wave is already visible to people and there are no PFDs around, they might be able to put empty plastic bottles between their skin and clothing, hold on to garbage cans, or wear helmets as substitutions for PFDs and other protective gear;

These actions represent the second-best tsunami survival technique. It is reasonable to assume that hypothermia victims were included in the 15,786 fatalities (90. 64%) of the Tohoku-Pacific Earthquake because the seawater temperature was very low (5 to 7°C) [ 33 ].

  1. If the entire human body is immersed in water at such low temperatures, its core temperature will decrease to a critical level within 2 h [ 34 ];
  2. People with PFDs might be transported extensively far from the coast; therefore, it will be necessary to establish a reliable rescue system to save them before their core temperature drops to a severe level where hypothermia can set in;

People lose consciousness when their core temperature drops to 30°C. However, if people wear PFDs, they would be able to avoid drowning even if they lose consciousness as they would merely float on the water surface while still retaining their ability to breathe [ 34 – 36 ].

Tsunamis might kill people in multiple ways as mentioned above. In the next series of experiments, we plan on evaluating whether a dummy wearing a PFD would be able to overcome a crash with debris swept by the water or a crash against a concrete block.

Notably, the wave heights of our artificial tsunamis were much lower than those of natural tsunamis, which often exceed 10 m. Regardless, our experiments demonstrated that dummies without PFDs were caught up in the vortex and could not resurface after they were hit by the artificial tsunami.

On the other hand, dummies wearing PFDs were not drawn under and were able to continue to float on the water surface. Based on these results, we are planning to carry out further experiments with a 1. 5 m high artificial tsunami and simulations of 10 m high tsunami waves using computer software [ 37 , 38 ].

The results of our series of experiments are important as a first step to improve survivorship during tsunami disasters, and application of the results could likely save numerous lives.

Can you outrun a tsunami in a car?

And NO, YOU CAN’T OUTRUN A TSUNAMI. — MAYBE the world’s fastest runners  could run 5-minute miles for 5 miles while a terrifying wall of water chases the athlete off the Spit. But most people couldn’t. It’s just not possible. It doesn’t really matter how fast the wave is coming in, the point is that once you get a sign of a possible tsunami, you really shouldn’t be near the wave in the first place.

  • Know the warning signals;
  • Don’t ignore them or underestimate the speed of the wave;
  • If the beach starts shaking or the ocean looks or sounds strange, head off the Spit, away from beaches and from Beluga Slough toward highest elevation immediately;

Getting to high ground is the only way to survive the monster waves. Linger too long and you may run out of time to find somewhere safe. Tsunamis can also come in as a series of inundating waves. The second wave of water is often much larger than the first. .

Can a tsunami travel 4000 miles?

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Houses above the inundation zone in this Japanese village survived intact, while everything below was destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. (Image credit: Patrick Corcoran, Oregon State University) Maybe the fastest man in the world could run a 6-minute mile for 6 miles (10 kilometers) while a terrifying wall of water chased him through a coastal city. But most people couldn’t. Yet a myth persists that a person could outrun a tsunami.

That’s just not possible, tsunami safety experts told LiveScience, even for Usain Bolt, one of the world’s quickest sprinters. Getting to high ground or high elevation is the only way to survive the monster waves.

«I try to explain to people that it doesn’t really matter how fast [the wave] is coming in, the point is that you really shouldn’t be there in the first place,» said Rocky Lopes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Tsunami Mitigation, Education and Outreach program.

But because they didn’t know the warning signals, ignored them or just couldn’t get to safety in time, more than 200,000 people died in tsunamis in the past decade. And it’s not just tsunamis: Underestimating the power of the ocean kills thousands every year in hurricane storm surges.

Stay off the beach A tsunami is a series of waves caused by a sudden underwater earth movement. The kick-off is akin to dropping a big rock in a children’s pool filled with water. In an ocean basin, tsunami waves slosh back and forth, reflecting off coastlines, just like the (much smaller) waves in a child’s pool, Lopes said. Tsunamis gain height as they approach the shore. (Image credit: NOAA) Because many people mistakenly think a tsunami is a single wave, some return to the beach after the first wave hits, Lopes said. On March 11, 2011, a man in Klamath River, Calif. , died after he was swept away by a second wave while taking pictures of the Japan tsunami , Lopes said.

Tsunamis race across the deep ocean at jet speed, some 500 mph (800 km/h). Near shore, the killer waves slow to between 10 to 20 mph (16 to 32 km/h) and gain height. If the offshore slope is gentle and gradual, the tsunami will likely come in looking like a rapidly approaching tide.

If the transition from deep ocean to shoreline is steep and cliff-like , then the wave will resemble a movie-like specter, arriving as an onrushing wall of water. [ Waves of Destruction: History’s Biggest Tsunamis ] Look and listen for warning signs Either way, standing at the beach, at sea level, means losing perspective.

«It’s a matter of optical illusion and how fast your eye interprets the speed of moving water,» Lopes said. «People just can’t estimate the speed of the wave, and [so they] get themselves in trouble. » Linger too long and you may run out of time to find somewhere safe.

«If they’re on the beach, there’s no way in heck they’re going to outrun it,» said Nathan Wood, a tsunami modeler with the U. Geological Survey in Portland, Ore. «Technically, if you’re 10 blocks in, and the waves are full of debris [and slowing from friction], there’s a chance, but for most people that’s not realistic,» he said.

So if the beach starts shaking or the ocean looks or sounds strange, head for the highest elevation around immediately. «Sometimes the only warning you may get are these environmental clues,» Lopes said.

«These are the indicators that you are in serious danger. » High ground is best in situations like these; steel-reinforced concrete buildings or parking structures work in a pinch, but even climbing trees will help if nothing else is available. Some people who sought refuge in trees survived the 1960 Chile tsunami, though others were torn from their branches.

  1. Why people put themselves at risk Another fatal mistake people make when fleeing from tsunamis is underestimating how far the water can travel inland, Lopes said;
  2. In this graphic video of the 2011 Japan tsunami, shot from a hillside, residents fleeing the tsunami are nearly caught by the powerful wave even after it had already destroyed half the town;

Tsunamis can travel as far as 10 miles (16 km) inland, depending on the shape and slope of the shoreline. Hurricanes also drive the sea miles inward, putting people at risk. But even hurricane veterans may ignore orders to evacuate. As with tsunamis, a lack of understanding lays at the heart of this willingness to risk everything, according to studies by NOAA. Storm surge floods a section of Coast Guard Station New York, located on Staten Island, as Hurricane Sandy approaches New York Harbor, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. (Image credit: U. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson. ) Hurricane evacuation orders are due to dangers from storm surges , not wind, Rhome explained. «People are enamored with the wind, but it’s storm surge that has the greatest potential to take life,» he said.

«We’ve consulted with social scientists and communications experts, and the number one reason why people stay is that they don’t understand storm surge,» said Jaime Rhome, storm surge team leader at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

«The majority of deaths occurring in hurricanes are from drowning, not wind. » Storm surge is the force of hurricane winds driving the ocean landward, which raises sea level. The water penetrates miles inland. Waves kicked up by the hurricane travel on top of the storm surge , pounding everything in their path.

  • People who go out in the surge — residents who wait too long to evacuate, for example — may find themselves knocked off their feet and swept away;
  • «People have a hard time imagining seawater can come that far inland,» Rhome said;
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«They can’t envision the ocean can rise that high or be that violent. » Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect the March 11,  2011, U. tsunami death was at Klamath River, Calif. , not Crescent City, Calif. Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin.

Follow us @livescience , Facebook  & Google+. Original article on LiveScience. com. Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics.

She earned a master’s degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz..

Could a tsunami hit Florida?

Potential Impacts — On rare occasions, tsunamis can affect the Florida east coast with wave heights above 3ft (possibly 15ft in isolated areas during the most significant events), along with very strong and dangerous currents. Though rare, it is important to know the signs and be able to react quickly in the event a tsunami may impact our area.

How high was the Boxing Day tsunami?

Tsunamis reached 20m in height at landfall in parts of Aceh. In other locations they spread 3 km inland carrying debris and salt water with them. The retreating waters eroded whole shorelines.

Can a tsunami travel 3000 miles?

The Indian Ocean tsunami generated by the most powerful earthquake in decades on December 26 is believed to have killed more than 150,000 people and made millions homeless, making it perhaps the most destructive tsunami in history. The epicenter of the 9.

  1. 0 magnitude quake was under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to the U;
  2. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide;
  3. A violent movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates displaced an enormous amount of water, sending powerful shock waves in every direction;

Within hours killer waves radiating from the epicenter slammed into the coastline of 11 Indian Ocean countries, snatching people out to sea, drowning others in their homes or on beaches, and demolishing property from Africa to Thailand. Tsunamis have been relatively rare in the Indian Ocean.

  • They are most prevalent in the Pacific;
  • But every ocean has generated the scourges;
  • Many countries are at risk;
  • In the wake of the Christmas weekend tsunami in the Indian Ocean, one of the worst disasters in history, National Geographic News examines the killer waves’ causes and warning signs—information that can be a lifesaver in a tsunami zone;

• A tsunami is a series of great sea waves caused by an underwater earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption. More rarely, a tsunami can be generated by a giant meteor impact with the ocean. Scientists have found traces of an asteroid-collision event that they say would have created a giant tsunami that swept around the Earth several times, inundating everything except the mountains 3.

  1. 5 billion years ago;
  2. The coastline of the continents was changed drastically and almost all life on land was exterminated;
  3. ( Read the story ) • Tsunami (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is a Japanese word;
  4. Tsunamis are fairly common in Japan and many thousands of Japanese have been killed by them in recent centuries;

• An earthquake generates a tsunami if it is of sufficient force and there is violent movement of the earth causing substantial and sudden displacement of a massive amount of water. • A tsunami is not a single wave but a series of waves, also known as a wave train.

The first wave in a tsunami is not necessarily the most destructive. Tsunamis are not tidal waves. • Tsunami waves can be very long (as much as 60 miles, or 100 kilometers) and be as far as one hour apart.

They are able to cross entire oceans without great loss of energy. The Indian Ocean tsunami traveled as much as 3,000 miles (nearly 5,000 kilometers) to Africa, arriving with sufficient force to kill people and destroy property. Scientists say that a great earthquake of magnitude 9 struck the Pacific Northwest in 1700, and created a tsunami that caused flooding and damage on the Pacific coast of Japan.

Can you survive a tsunami on a boat?

ALOOP Expert Panel – How fast do tsunami travel, and how far inland do they go?

If I Have a Boat — WHAT TO DO? TSUNAMI SAFETY FOR BOATERS 1. Since tsunami waves cannot be seen in the open ocean, do not return to port if you are at sea and a tsunami warning has been issued. Port facilities may become damaged and hazardous with debris.

  1. Listen to mariner radio reports when it is safe to return to port;
  2. Tsunamis can cause rapid changes in water level and unpredictable dangerous currents that are magnified in ports and harbors;
  3. Damaging wave activity can continue for many hours following initial tsunami impact;

Contact the harbor authority or listen to mariner radio reports. Make sure that conditions in the harbor are safe for navigation and berthing. Boats are safer from tsunami damage while in the deep ocean ( > 100 m) rather than moored in a harbor. But, do not risk your life and attempt to motor your boat into deep water if it is too close to wave arrival time.

Anticipate slowdowns caused by traffic gridlock and hundreds of other boaters heading out to sea. For a locally-generated tsunami, there will be no time to motor a boat into deep water because waves can come ashore within minutes.

Leave your boat at the pier and physically move to higher ground. For a tele-tsunami generated far away, there will be more time (one or more hours) to deploy a boat. Listen for official tsunami wave arrival time estimates and plan accordingly. Most large harbors and ports are under the control of a harbor authority and/or a vessel traffic system.

  1. These authorities direct operations during periods of increased readiness, including the forced movement of vessels if deemed necessary;
  2. Keep in contact with authorities when tsunami warnings are issued;

Download and print these boater safety tips : Tsunami Safety for Boaters flyer (PDF) Click here to for the Hawaii Boater’s Hurricane and Tsunami Safety Manual ..

What’s the farthest a tsunami has traveled?

Not the deadliest — Despite easily being able to wash over the Empire State Building, the monster wave of 1958 wasn’t the most destructive. That devastating record was broken by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that was one tenth of the height. On 26th December 2004 an earthquake that hit over 9.

3 on the Richter Scale caused a tunnel of water. The tsunami travelled over 3,000 miles impacting 17 countries in Southeastern and Southern Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa. With a recorded death toll of 230,000 people and damages over $10 billion, it is one of the worst disasters the modern world has ever seen.

Unlike the 500m wave that hit 60 years ago, that broke with almost no one around, this utter destruction was possible because of the hundreds of hotels and businesses built in a tsunami risk zone. It highlights the need to carefully think about where homes and businesses are built to avoid the creation of new risk and reduce exposure to people at risk.

Where do tsunamis most often occur?

Source locations of tsunamis: 1650 B. to 2010 A. — Full image | More posters from International Information Tsunami Center We are living on a geologically active planet. Earthquakes and tsunamis have always been occurring. The largest number of earthquakes occur around the rim of the Pacific Ocean associated with a series of volcanoes and deep-ocean trenches known as the «Ring of Fire».

As a result, the largest source region for tsunamis is in the Pacific Ocean with 71% of all occurrences. Within the main Pacific Ocean basin, tsunamis generated in the tropics, while locally devastating, tend to weaken rapidly with distance.

However, tsunamis generated in the North Pacific Ocean and along the Pacific Coast of South America often travel throughout the Pacific leaving death and destruction in their wake. The remaining occurrences of tsunamis happen in the Mediterranean Sea (15%), Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean (7%), Indian Ocean (6%), and finally the Black Sea (1%).

Of all tsunamis, 83% are produced directly by earthquakes. Landslides/rockslides (or icefalls) into water or landslides under the ocean surface can generate sufficient displacement of water to produce tsunamis as well.

One such rockfall occurred on July 9, 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. An earthquake triggered a 40 million cubic yard rock fell at the head of the bay. Due to the confines of the bay, the resulting tsunami wave reached a height of 1,720 feet (520 meters) on the opposite side of the inlet.

  1. Down the inlet itself, the initial wave reached a height of 600 feet (120 meter) moving toward the ocean at 100 mph (160 km/h);
  2. This was not the only time this type of event occurred in this bay;
  3. There are at least four other instances of a landslide causing a tsunami in Lituya Bay (1936, 1900, 1874, 1854);

While the magnitude of the 1959 tsunami event has not been matched since it occurred over 50 years ago, 6% of all worldwide tsunamis are generated by earthquake induced landslides. While also rare, volcanoes can produce devastating tsunamis. One of the most deadliest tsunami events was generated by the Krakatoa volcano eruption in 1883.

World’s Deadliest Tsunamis 1650 B. C to 2010 A. From National Centers for Environmental Information

Deaths Year Location Ocean Basin Cause
227,899 2004 N. Sumatra Indian 9. 1M Earthquake
50,000 1755 Portugal, Lisbon Atlantic 8. 5M Earthquake
34417 1883 Indonesia, Krakatoa Indian Volcano
31,000 1498 Japan, Enshunada Sea Pacific 8. 3M Earthquake
27,122 1896 Japan, Sanriku Pacific 8. 3M Earthquake
25,000 1868 Chile, Northern Pacific 8. 5M Earthquake
18,482 2011 Japan, Honshu Island Pacific 9. 0M Earthquake
14,524 1792 Japan, Shimabara Bay, Kyushu Island Pacific 6. 4M Earthquake
13,486 1771 Japan, Ryukyu Island Pacific 7. 4M Earthquake
8,000 1586 Japan, Ise Bay Pacific 8. 2M Earthquake
6,800 1976 Phillippines, Moro Gulf Pacific 8. 0M Earthquake
5,233 1703 Japan, Off SW Boso Peninsula Pacific 8. 2M Earthquake
5,000 1707 Japan, Nankaido Pacific 8. 4M Earthquake
5,000 1687 Puro, South Peru Pacific 8. 5M Earthquake
5,000 1611 Japan, Sanriku Pacific 8. 1M Earthquake
5,000 1605 Japan, Nankaido Pacific 7. 9M Earthquake
5,000 365 Greece, Crete Mediterranean 8. 0M Earthquake
4,800 1746 Peru, Lima Pacific 8. 0M Earthquake
4,000 1792 Russia, Kamchatka Pacific 9. 0M Earthquake
4,000 1792 Pakistan, Makran Coast Indian 8. 0M Earthquake
3,022 1933 Japan, Sanriku Pacific 8. 4M Earthquake
3,000 1854 Japan, Nankaido Pacific 8. 4M Earthquake

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