Featuring the USGS Tsunami specialist and a clip from NOAA, this quick and informative news video explains the science behind tsunamis. Some important factors include distance from the sea-floor earthquake as well as the topography of the area. The tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake that forces the ocean floor upward and forcefully pushes the water out of the way, causing it to slam into the shore. The tsunami continues as a series of waves resulting from that undersea earthquake. The waves can be very long lasting and can travel thousands of miles, only stopping from direct impact with a land mass. NOAA and the USGS use monitoring devices to keep track of tsunami activity globally, including near the northern California coast where previous damages have been caused by tsunamis.
For further information about tsunamis, see the NOAA tsunami website. To read about some of the research that is taking place dealing with tsunamis and earthquakes, check this USGS page. The Water Library also has a few tsunami titles for adults and children, please contact us if you are interested in checking these out.