The great Indian Ocean tsunami that struck 11 countries on 26 December 2004 killed an estimated 150,000 people and left millions homeless. The epicenter of that 9.0 quake was near the west coast of Sumatra, underneath the Indian Ocean.
On March 11, 2011, the Honshu Tsunami, caused by a 9.0 earthquake with its epicenter off of the northeast coast of Japan, struck the island nation, leaving thousands dead and thousands more homeless.
What causes a tsunami? How can an earthquake under the ocean cause so much damage on land?
Podders79′s ”Animation-Tsunami Guide” explains the ocean-side cause and effect of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but leaves off what happened once the tsunami struck land. It is still chilling to watch.
What are your thoughts after watching Podders79′s animation of the cause and immediate effect of a tsunami?
How can you display wave height in a meaningful way, particularly when a tsunami strikes after a major earthquake?
NOAA researchers and staff took the maximum predicted wave heights from buoys positioned in the Pacific as the Honshu Tsunami spread across the Pacific on March 11, 2011. Using that data, they created the dramatic images and video below of the predicted wave heights and energy of the tsunami.
The black color on the left side of each image shows the tsunami at its highest.
Image of the Honshu Tsunami courtesy NOAA and SciAm.
This graphic shows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s predictions of the maximum heights of tsunami waves caused by the March 11 earthquake near Sendai, Japan. The wave heights will decrease as the waves cross the deep Pacific Basin but rise again as they approach shorelines, although they won’t be as high as they were around Japan. The map shows waves of 30 to 70 centimeters (1.0 feet to 2.3 feet) are predicted to hit New Zealand, the South Pacific islands, Hawaii and the western coast of North America.
On Febuary 27th 2010 a massive tsunami was generated by a Mw 8.8 earthquake (35.846°S, 72.719°W ), at 06:34 UTC, 115 km (60 miles) NNE of Concepcion, Chile. The tsunami was first recorded at DART® buoy 32412. Forecast results shown below were created with the NOAA forecast method using MOST model with the tsunami source inferred from DART® data. The tsunami waves first arrived at Valparaiso, Chile (approximately 330 km northeast from earthquake epicenter ) earlier than other tide gages, at 0708UTC, about 34 minutes after the earthquake.
All I could think as I watched it was, “I bet Australians are glad New Zealand could ‘break’ the tsunami for them before it hit their eastern coast!” Well, the non-surfers, anyway.