Water And Oceanography

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

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If you live near an active fault, chances are that you will experience an earthquake at one point in your life. Although an earthquake is a very frightening event, especially if it is a strong one, the situation is much more terrifying if the earthquake is followed by a tsunami. While a lot of people are fortunate enough to have never been in a tsunami, many people have experienced one, and only they know what it's truly like. 

Earthquakes and tsunamis are two different natural disasters, and, although it's a one-way effect, one can cause the other. An earthquake occurs when energy is released in the Earth's crust, causing seismic waves. A tsunami happens when a big part of a body of water is displaced, creating enormous waves. 

Tsunamis mostly occur in oceans or very large lakes, and are usually generated due to earthquakes, underwater explosions, volcanic eruptions,  glacier calvings, landslides and other severe movements above or below water. They are also affected by global climate change. However, all the major tsunamis that happened in the past were triggered by underwater earthquakes. This means that the earthquakes' epicenters were offshore or underwater, and the seabed was displaced enough to bring huge tidal waves to shore.

On the other hand, some experts say that an earthquake must have a magnitude above 6.5 and be less than 25 kilometers underground to cause a tsunami. It has also been shown by statistics that only 100 of the past 15,000 underwater earthquakes actually caused tsunamis. And even if an earthquake is extremely strong, it may not cause a tsunami just because of how deep it is.

Both tsunamis and earthquakes can cause a very significant amount of damage, but when the tsunami is caused by an earthquake, the damage may be much greater. The earthquakes produce waves so huge that they can reach the coast in a few minutes, but they can travel for thousands of kilometers, too, and destroy shores hours after the initial earthquake. 

Although these natural disasters occur in certain areas around the world, they can suddenly strike on any place, and people have to do their best to be prepared. And even if we feel that we are perfectly safe and happy at home, there are thousands of people out there, every single day, who are most definitely not. They're suffering because they lost their homes, families, friends, and/or health, and others must do whatever they can to help them. It's the job of human beings to show their support for others, wherever they may be.

More about this author: Maryam Idris

From Around the Web

  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami
  • InfoBoxCallToAction ActionArrowhttp://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2011-03/17/content_12185192.htm