Top 5 facts about tsunamis
1. Harbour wave
In Japanese, the word ‘tsunami’ literally translates as ‘harbour wave’. Tsunamis are a frequent occurrence in Japan, with over 190 recorded throughout history so far.
2. Making the link
It was the Greek historian Thucydides who first linked tsunamis to earthquakes. However, their exact cause remained speculative until the 20th Century.
3. Land brake
Out at sea, tsunamis travel incredibly quickly, often clocking up over 500 mph. This speed slows as it reaches the shoreline, often being reduced to around 50 mph.
4. Quick draw
The first part of a tsunami to reach land is referred to as a ‘trough’. Here, water along the shore recedes dramatically in a mass drawback, exposing normally submerged areas.
Due to their destructive nature, tsunami-related activity is monitored by specialist observation centres such as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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