Segments in this Video

Japan's Tsunamis (03:21)


Tsunamis are sets of waves, called wave trains, which can destroy entire areas. Japan is notoriously hit by many tsunamis and has introduced a warning system to protect citizens.

Tsunami Causes (01:27)

Most tsunamis are created by submarine earthquakes that cause displaced water. Less commonly, they can be caused by landslides, volcanic eruptions, or a meteor.

Hawaii Tsunamis (02:06)

Hawaii is the most vulnerable area in North America; it can be stuck by a tsunami that develops anywhere in the Ring of Fire. In 1946, a tsunami caused by a submarine earthquake hit Hawaii.

Tsunami Formation (02:46)

The two types of tsunamis, local and distant, have different dangers. Tsunamis are formed when tectonic plates collide and water is displaced.

Characteristics of a Tsunami (01:53)

When tsunamis are formed they are a small ripple on the sea. Once tsunami waves reach shallow water they slow down and grow in height. Megatsunamis are large tsunamis that cause more destruction, but are rare.

Minoan Megatsunami (01:19)

The Minoan civilization on Crete was devastated by a megatsunami. A major volcanic eruption on a Santorini island put ash and rock into the sea, displacing the water and sending a megatsunami to Crete.

Lituya Bay Megatsunami (04:41)

On January 9, 1958, an earthquake on the Fairweather Fault created a landslide that sent debris into the bay. Hear from a survivor who was on a boat in the bay when the tsunami hit and miraculously survived.

Man-Made Megatsunami (01:57)

This megatsunami was created by a landslide and the tsunami crashed over a dam, killing many below. This tsunami was caused by the Vajont Dam that was built in an unstable area.

Tsunami Warning Signs (02:12)

From shore, the first sign of a tsunami is rapidly receding water that signals there is minutes until a tsunami hits. Proper warnings from detection systems make it possible to escape a tsunami.

1960 Hawaii Tsunami (02:39)

In 1960, the most powerful earthquake in the world, the Vadivia Earthquake, stuck Chile. This would send out many tsunamis, including one that hit Hilo, Hawaii. A warning was issued and people went inland. Many believed it was a false alarm and returned to their homes before the tsunami.

1998 Papua New Guinea Tsunami (03:09)

This tsunami was caused by a landslide that hit the sea. People heard a large explosion and then began to run for their lives, but thousands perished.

1998 Papua New Guinea Tsunami Response (01:16)

International relief was almost immediate after the tsunami, first was the Australian Air Force. They came with necessary supplies and started a field hospital that was immediately filled with the injured.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Sumatra (03:56)

The Indian Ocean was hit by a powerful submarine earthquake and the surrounding countries had no detection systems to discover the impeding danger. The resulting tsunami hit Sumatra in less than an hour, and with no warning it was completely devastating.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Thailand and Sri Lanka (02:17)

People in the resort town of Phuket, Thailand had only moments between seeing the receding water and having the tsunami crash down on them. It then traveled to Sri Lanka, where the death toll continued to grow.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami Response (02:41)

The tsunami continued across the ocean, hitting the Maldives and parts of Africa. The death toll across all countries was high and damage costs were extensive. Relief efforts were started to help find survivors and start reconstruction.

Tsunami Warning Systems (02:47)

There are two different types of warning systems for tsunamis, pressure recorders and tide gauges. Pressure recorders sit on the sea floor to record pressure at the bottom, tide gauges are on coastlines measuring the different tides.

Cumbre Vieja Danger (03:10)

If this volcano erupts, it is possible that a side of it will collapse and hit the ocean, creating an enormous megatsunami. This megatsunami would hit East North America the hardest, but could hit around the Atlantic Ocean.

Credits: Tsunami - Killer Waves: The World's Worst Disasters (00:49)

Credits: Tsunami - Killer Waves: The World's Worst Disasters

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Tsunami—Killer Waves: The World's Worst Disasters

Part of the Series : The World's Worst Disasters
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Caused by earthquakes deep beneath the seabed or by landslides crashing down into the sea from a cliff or mountain, tsunamis have been wreaking havoc for millennia. Most of them occur along what is known as the Ring of Fire, a 30,000 mile-long arc of seismic activity encircling the Pacific Ocean. The tsunami that resulted in one of the world’s greatest-ever natural disasters, took place in the Indian Ocean. On 26 December 2004, a massive undersea earthquake took place off the coast of Indonesia. This set off a series of tsunamis, which fanned out across the Indian Ocean, hitting around a dozen countries. Known as the Boxing Day Tsunami, it resulted in about 250,000 deaths and created havoc and destruction on an unprecedented scale. There is nothing that can be done to prevent a tsunami, but improved warning systems give scientists a better idea where and when they will strike. A BBC Production.

Length: 47 minutes

Item#: BVL95243

ISBN: 978-1-68272-435-4

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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