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A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake.Earthquakes, volcanic other underwater landslides, glacier eruptions and explosions (including calvings,meteorite

detonations of underwater nuclear devices), impacts and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami.

Five deadly Tsunami Events

A magnitude 8.1 earthquake occurred on December 12, 1979 at 7:59:4.3 UTC along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador. The earthquake and the resulting tsunami caused the destruction of at least six fishing villages and the death of hundreds of people in the Colombian Department of Nario. The earthquake was felt in Bogot, Cali, Popayn, Buenaventura, and several other cities and towns in Colombia and in Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Quito, and other parts of Ecuador. When the tsunami hit the coast, it caused huge destruction in the city of Tumaco, as well as in the small towns of El Charco, San Juan, Mosquera, and Salahonda on the Pacific coast of Colombia. The total number of victims of this tragedy was 259 dead, 798 wounded and 95 missing or presumed dead.

1983: Sea of Japan

On May 26, 1983 at 11:59:57 local time, a magnitude7.7 earthquake occurred in the Sea of Japan, about 100 km west of the coast ofNoshiro in Akita Prefecture, Japan. Out of the 107 fatalities, all but four were killed by the resulting tsunami, which struck communities along the coast, especially Aomori and Akita Prefectures and the east coast of Noto Peninsula. Footage of the tsunami hitting the fishing harbor of Wajima on Noto Peninsula was broadcast on TV. The waves exceeded 10 meters in some areas. Three of the fatalities were along the east coast of South Korea (whether North Korea was affected is not known). The tsunami also hit Okushiri Island, the site of a more deadly tsunami 10 years later.

2004: Indian Ocean

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the SumatraAndaman earthquake.[3][4] The resulting tsunami is given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, South Asian tsunami, Indonesian tsunami, and Boxing Day tsunami. The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastatingtsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (98 ft) high.

It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest-

hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. With a magnitude of Mw 9.19.3, it is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on aseismograph. The earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre (0.4 inches)[6] and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.[7] Its epicentre was between Simeulue and mainland Indonesia.[8] The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $14 billion (2004 US$) in humanitarian aid Death toll and casualties According to the U.S. Geological Survey a total of 227,898 people died (see table below for details).

Measured in lives lost, this is one of the ten worst

earthquakes in recorded history, as well as the single worst tsunami in history. Indonesia was the worst affected area, with most death toll estimates at around 170,000.[53] However, another report by health minister Fadilah Supari has estimated the death total to be as high as 220,000 in Indonesia alone, giving a total of 280,000 casualties.[2] The tsunami caused serious damage and deaths as far as the east coast of Africa, with the farthest recorded death due to the tsunami occurring at Rooi Els in South Africa, 8,000 km (5,000 mi) away from the epicentre. In total, eight people in South Africa died due to abnormally high sea levels and waves.

2007: Niigata, Japan

On 16 July 2007, a strong earthquake struck northwestern Japan, causing a fire and minor radioactive water leak at one of the world's most powerful nuclear power plants. At least seven

people were killed and hundreds injured. Japan's Meteorological Agency measured the quake at 6.8 on the richter scale and sending aftershocks of 6.6. The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors quakes around the world, said the initial quake registered 6.7. A tsunami watch was issued along the Sea of Japan. The predicted height of the tsunami was estimated to be 50 cm (20 inches).[37] That earthquake sparked only a few small tsunamis, growing to be no more than about 20 cm (8 inches) tall. However, the 1964 quake and tsunami north of the current one destroyed the port of the city of Niigata.

2011: Pacific coast of Japan

On March 11, 2011, off the Pacific coast of Japan, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake produced a tsunami 33 feet (10 m) high along Japan's northeastern coast. The wave caused widespread devastation, with an official count of around 20,000 people confirmed to be killed/missing. The highest tsunami which was recorded at Ryri Bay, funato, reached a total height of 97 feet (30 m).[41] In addition the tsunami precipitated multiple hydrogen explosions and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tsunami warnings were issued to the entire Pacific Rim A huge tsunami spawned by the magnitude-8.9 quakeone of the largest ever recordedrocked Japan's eastern coast, killing hundreds of people, according to the Associated Press. (Get the inside story of how nations rally to aid others after earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.) Within hours, the tsunami hit Hawaii and set off warnings throughout the Pacific, including South America, Canada, Alaska, and the U.S., such as the Oregon coast, the AP reported. (See more tsunami pictures.) A tsunami is a series of great sea waves caused by an underwaterearthquake, 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 tallest mountains 3.5 billion years ago. The coastline of the continents was changed drastically and almost all life on land was exterminated. (Read the story.) An earthquake generates a tsunami if it is of sufficient force and there is a violent enough movement of the seafloor to cause substantial and sudden displacement of a massive amount of water. Tsunami (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is a Japanese word, and in fact tsunamis are fairly common in Japan. Many thousands of Japanese have been killed by them in recent centuries. (Take a tsunami quiz.)

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 as long as 60 miles (100 kilometers) and as far as one hour apart. They are able to cross entire oceans without great loss of energy. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami traveled as far 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. (See "Did North American Quake Cause 1700 Japanese Tsunami?") Tsunamis As Fast as Commercial Jets Where the ocean is deep, tsunamis can travel unnoticed on the surface at speeds up to 500 miles an hour (800 kilometers an hour), crossing an ocean in a day or less. Scientists are able to calculate arrival time of a tsunami in different parts of the world based on knowledge of water depths, distances, and when the event that generated the tsunami occurred. (More from National Geographic magazine: predicting the next giant earthquake.) A tsunami may be less than a foot (30 centimeters) tall on the surface of the open ocean, which is why they are not noticed by sailors. But the powerful shock wave of energy travels rapidly through the ocean, sometimes as fast as a commercial jet. Once a tsunami reaches shallow water near the coast, it is slowed down. The top of the wave moves faster than the bottom, causing the sea to rise dramatically. Geological features such as reefs, bays, river entrances, and undersea formations may dissipate the energy of a tsunami. In some places a tsunami may cause the sea to rise vertically only a few inches or feet. In other places tsunamis have been known to surge vertically as high as 100 feet (30 meters). Most tsunamis cause the sea to rise no more than 10 feet (3 meters). The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 caused waves as high as 30 feet (9 meters) in some places, according to news reports. In other places witnesses described a rapid surging of the ocean. Flooding can extend inland by a thousand feet (300 meters) or more. The enormous energy of a tsunami can lift giant boulders, flip vehicles, and demolish houses. Tsunamis do not necessarily make their final approach to land as a series of giant breaking waves. They may be more like a very rapidly rising tide. This may be accompanied by much underwater turbulence, sucking people under and tossing heavy objects around. Entire beaches have been stripped away by tsunamis.