A tsunami is a series of travelling ocean waves usually caused by a large EARTHQUAKE beneath or near the ocean. Volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides and coastal rockfalls can also generate one, as can a large meteorite impacting the ocean. The majority of tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean, however, people and property in all coastal areas are at risk. The 26 December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which killed or displaced 230 000 people, was one of the largest tsunami events of the last 100 years. These very large tsunamis (called teletsunamis) can be destructive across entire ocean basins. This makes them the most far reaching of all natural DISASTERS.
This live CNN clip documents the tsunami that hit Japan on 11 March 2011.
In the deep ocean a tsunami travels at about the speed of a commercial jetliner and its length from crest to crest can be 100 km or more, but its height will be less than a metre and therefore it will not be noticed by ships at sea. As a tsunami enters shallow coastal areas it slows down and the wave height increases. In some instances, when the waves reach the shore their heights can be 30 m or more. Warning signs of an approaching tsunami may be strong and prolonged ground shaking, if the cause is a nearby earthquake, or the sea may suddenly recede along the shore.
A tsunami warning system was established for the Pacific region following a series of destructive tsunamis, that occurred between 1946 and 1964. Similar systems are being established for the Indian Ocean and for most other coastal regions. Warnings are initially provided based on an earthquake's magnitude and location, and the threat of a tsunami is then confirmed by water level measurements from networks of tide gauges. Once a warning has been issued nations are responsible for alerting communities at risk. The people living in these communities, through proper planning (mitigation) and education, would evacuate to safe areas until the threat has passed. Since a tsunami is a series of waves (and the first wave is frequently not the largest of the waves), no one should return to coastal areas until emergency officials deem it is safe to do so.
On 18 November 1929 an earthquake in the Grand Banks raised a 5 m high tsunami that hit the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland; 26 people died. The Alaskan earthquake on 28 March 1964 raised a tsunami that caused property damage of several millions of dollars in the twin cities of Alberni and PORT ALBERNI, BC; there was no loss of life.
Tsunami This home was one of hundreds damaged when an earthquake in the Grand Banks raised a tsunami that hit the coast of Newfoundland (courtesy The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Provincial Archives/PANL-A2-146).
T.S. Murty, Seismic Sea Waves, Tsunamis (1977).
Links to Other Sites Earthquakes Canada
This site offers the latest news and information about recent earthquakes and related events. See menu on the left for links to detailed maps, Frequently Asked Questions, a history of earthquakes that have occured within Canada, and a glossary of seismological terms. From Natural Resources Canada.
A well-illustrated online guide to natural geological processes related to plate tectonics, earthquakes, and related events. From Natural Resources Canada.
Know the Risks
This site offers useful tips and guidelines for preparing and responding to earthquakes and other extreme natural events. Click on the "hazards poster" on the right to download a map of Canadian locations prone to various natural events. Includes brief notes about each type of event. From Public Safety Canada.
Tsunamis and Tsunami Research
Check out the "basic physics of tsunamis" section for details about the causes and effects of tsunami events and their connection to earthquakes. From Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Pacific Region.
Tsunami Information Centre
Current news, maps, and extensive background information about the causes and effects of “tsunamis,” tsunami preparedness, and much more. From the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
Absolutely free, with over 40,000 articles in French and English, The Canadian Encyclopedia is the ultimate online resource for all things Canadian, from history, sports, arts, science, technology, and much, much more. Get started at www.TheCanadianEncyclopedia.com
The story of the founding of Montreal is perhaps unique in history....
Browse the rich visual resources of The Canadian Encyclopedia through thematic galleries of Canadian Art, History, Nature, People, and Science and Technology.
Illustrations, lively text, animations, sounds and games help make learning about Canadian history, art, geography, architecture and other topics entertaining as well as informative.
The ultimate test of your knowledge of Canada, trivial and otherwise. You can choose from more than 60 dynamic quizzes with visual or text clues. Your scores depend on the speed with which
you answer and the number of clues you need. Results are sent to you by email and high scores are posted on the site.
This unique resource includes more than 6000 events from Canadian and world history. It can be searched by era, subject, keyword or date. To find out what happened on your birthday, select
the month and day of your birth.
100 Greatest Events
This selection of the 100 "greatest" events in Canadian history was made by editor in chief James H. Marsh to draw attention to events that have left an indelible memory in the minds of