Q:

How far inland can a tsunami go?

A:

Quick Answer

With wave speeds that can reach as much as 435 miles per hour, a tsunami can travel as far inland as 10 miles, depending on the slope and the shape of the shoreline that it is traveling across. Ships traveling in the deep ocean may pass over a tsunami and not even notice it because a tsunami can cause the waves to be as little as 2 feet high where the water is very deep.

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Full Answer

A tsunami occurs most often as an earthquake on the sea floor. This earthquake can trigger a wide variety of phenomenon, including undersea landslides and undersea volcanic eruptions, and it can even affect meteorites. When a sudden change in the seafloor occurs, it can cause the ocean to flow away from the disturbance and quite often towards land while creating large crashing waves.

The most common thing that people should look for with a tsunami is when the water along the shoreline recedes further out than normal. By this time, it is much too late to respond because the water will begin to rush in within as little as 5 minutes. Once a tsunami occurs, it is important to stay off the beach because there will likely be larger waves to follow.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What happens after a tsunami hits?

    A:

    After the initial wave hits land, a large wall of water follows closely behind it. The water slams into the land, then immediately begins to recede, taking many objects on land with it.

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  • Q:

    What happens during a tsunami?

    A:

    When a tsunami occurs, it's typically in response to an earthquake, and oceanic waves grow to large proportions, increasing their rate of causing damage. Other natural earth forces can cause tsunamis as well, including meteorites, landslides, explosions and a volcano erupting, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology or BOM.

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  • Q:

    What causes a tsunami?

    A:

    Tsunamis are caused by undersea volcanoes or earthquakes that push massive amounts of energy through the water. Earthquakes are the most common cause, but landslides can create tsunamis as well.

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  • Q:

    Can we prevent a tsunami?

    A:

    A tsunami is a natural geohazard that is almost impossible to prevent from forming or occurring. Though it cannot be prevented, damage from a tsunami can be reduced through sophisticated early warning systems, effective response and community preparedness. The United Nations Environment Program also suggests that tsunamis cause less damage in areas where there are natural tsunami barriers, such as coastal vegetation, coral reefs and mangroves.

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