What Are Some Tsunami Facts for Kids?

One fact about tsunamis is that they travel at speeds up to 500 miles per hours, and because they do not lose their energy, they can travel the entire Pacific Ocean in less than a day. Another fact is that tsunami is Japanese for harbor wave.

Tsunamis are typically the result of an earthquake, but can be triggered by any large-scale disturbance of the ocean such as volcanic activity, landslides, rapid changes in atmospheric pressure, explosions and meteorites. Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean, and approximately 80 percent occur in the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is a 25,000-mile, horseshoe-shaped area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire is a convergent plate boundary where two tectonic plates crash into each other, and the heavier plate slips under the lighter one. As a result, approximately 90 percent of earthquakes happen in the Ring of Fire, and there are approximately 452 volcanoes.

Scientists believe an asteroid struck the Indian Ocean approximately 4,800 years ago and caused a tsunami 600 feet high. They also believe it is possible that a meteorite struck more than 3.5 billion years ago and created a tsunami that wiped out life on Earth. The biggest tsunami on record occurred in 1958 and was the result of an earthquake. It occurred off the coast of Alaska and removed all vegetation, including trees, up to an elevation of 1,720 feet above sea level.