Top 5 Facts: Tsunamis

Top 5 Facts: Tsunamis

Harbour wave

In Japanese the word tsunami literally translates as ‘harbour wave’. Tsunamis are a frequent occurrence in Japan, with other 195 recorded throughout history so far.


It was the Greek historian Thucydides who first linked tsunamis to earthquakes. However, their exact cause remained speculative until the 20th Century.


Out as sea tsunamis travel incredibly quickly, often clocking up over 500mph. This speed slows as it reaches the shoreline, often being reduced to around 50mph.

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 Warming Center in Honolulu.

  • Nilynrae

    Sometimes the crest of a Tsunami (rather than the trough) can reach the land first. It very much depends on the origin of the tsunami and the location of the land.

  • love tsunamis and learn more about them cos they are cool

What is St Elmo’s fire?

St Elmo’s fire can be described as a more or less continuous, luminous electrical discharge in the atmosphere, which emanates from elevated objects above the Earth’s surface