WHAT IS A TSUNAMI?

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  • Sometimes called seismic sea waves (or, incorrectly, tidal waves), a tsunami is a series of waves generated by large earthquakes that create vertical movement on the ocean floor.
  • Tsunamis can reach more than 50 feet in height, move inland several hundred feet and threaten life and property.
  • Often, the first wave of a tsunami is not the largest.
  • Tsunamis can occur on all coastal regions of the world, but are most common along margins of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Tsunamis can travel from one side of the Pacific to the other in a day, at a velocity of 600 miles an hour in deep water.
  • A locally generated tsunami may reach the shore within minutes.