What is a Tsunami and What are its Causes and Effects?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

A tsunami is a chain of extremely long waves caused by a sudden and unexpected heavy movement of the ocean’s surface. It is caused by earthquakes near the ocean floor, landslides, large volcanic eruptions, etc. Tsunamis cause other major calamities, such as the loss of human life, livelihood, and other natural resources.

Define Tsunami

A tsunami is a chain of long waves caused by a sudden displacement of the ocean’s surface, usually caused by an earthquake, large volcanic eruptions, meteorite impact and more. Tsunami usually causes extensive damage to the natural environment as well as to human life.

Perhaps the most recent and the most destructive example of a Tsunami in India was the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. It caused major destruction and loss of life in the southern parts of India. It is still remembered as one of the biggest natural disasters that have ever occurred in our country.

Causes and Effects of Tsunami

  • Tsunamis are massive waves triggered by underwater earthquakes, meteorite impact, or volcanic eruptions.
  • Tsunami waves do not grow drastically in height as they go further into the ocean.
  • However, when the waves travel inland, their heights increase as the depth of the water diminishes.
  • Tsunami waves can travel at the same speed as jets across the deep ocean, only slowing down when they reach shallow water.
  • The speed of tsunami waves is determined by ocean depth rather than the distance from the wave’s source.
  • While tsunamis are frequently referred to as tidal waves, oceanographers discourage using this term because tides have little to do with these massive waves.

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