What Happens During a Tsunami?

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.

Tsunamis cannot travel far in very deep water, but if they happen to slow down, they can still be destructive. In fact, their size can actually increase at this point, BOM notes. Homes can be destroyed, trees and other vegetation can be uprooted and beaches can be severely damaged. Buildings that do survive the storm are likely to be extremely waterlogged and flooded.

In the event of a tsunami occurring, a person should get as far away as possible from oceans and other bodies of water, Canadian natural emergency resource Get Prepared cautions. Find a safe place away from the tsunami and wait until it’s over. Sometimes it may seem like a tsunami has stopped, but the waves can keep traveling for hours in some cases. Therefore, instead of making a judgment call, let authorities in the area determine when people can return back to their homes and only do so then.