How are Tsunamis formed?

3,052 Views Updated: 10 Jan 2018
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How are Tsunamis formed?

One of the greatest natural disasters that wreak havoc in their path are the tsunamis. Just seeing them on the big screen sends ripples of fear through us, then one can only imagine the devastation the real one's cause.

The idea of large waves making their way to the coast and destroying everything in their way is stuff that nightmares are made of. Though did you ever wonder how tsunamis are formed? Also, did you know that landslides can form tsunamis?

How Are Tsunamis Formed?

The term 'tsunami' is a Japanese word that means "Big wave in the port." It was the local fishermen who coined this term after they returned to their port in the evening to see villages and cities that were destroyed by a giant wave even though they never saw any such wave in the open sea. This catastrophe was little known of in the mass media but the Boxing Day in 2004 changed all that when giant waves struck the Indian Ocean. Following which the tsunami in Indonesia in 2010 and the Japanese disaster have done more than enough to bring tsunami back into focus. The unpredictability of a tsunami and its infrequency makes it difficult to study them and to make out when they will strike next.

(Image Courtesy: The Atlantic)

There are a plethora of reasons that can trigger this natural disaster; they can range from underwater volcanoes to icebergs calving and in some cases even meteorites. The last one can hit the ocean and give rise to giant waves as it has done in the past. However, three-quarters of all tsunamis are formed due to underwater earthquakes.

(Image Courtesy: Tes)

How Earthquakes Cause Tsunami?

An earthquake has to be of magnitude six or above in order to trigger a tsunami. If they are closer to the sea, there are more chances of a tsunami happening. For a tsunami to be formed, the earthquake must cover these three points:

• It should be at least 7.0 on the Richter scale. This is because in such a case the energy that is produced upwards will be enough to displace enough water to create a tsunami swiftly.

• The earthquake must either lift the sea bed upward or lower it in order to produce a tsunami. If the sea bed is lifted displaced sidewards then it won’t result in any tsunami.

• Lastly, the epicenter of the earthquake has to be near to the surface of the Earth.

(Image Courtesy: WeirdlyOdd)

How Are Tsunamis Formed By Landslides?

What is fascinating and yet scary is the fact that all tsunamis are different and earthquakes produce not all. This is also why very little is ever known as to how and when the next tsunami will strike. A tsunami might also take place due to eruption or collapse of volcanoes, which can be on an island or can be coastal. This eruption leads to landslides right on the margins of the marine, and as that huge land mass enters a water body, it displaces water and triggers a tsunami.

(Image Courtesy: Wikipedia)

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