Tsunami Facts and Figures

A tsunami is displacement of  substantial volume of water causing "walls of water"  in the ocean that reach heights of 100 feet (30 meters) and can span hundreds of miles across. When these "walls of water hit" coastal lands, massive damage often occurs satellite images. This amazing video taken from a helicopter and reported by Sky News demonstrates the power of Tsunami that hit Japan. No other tsunami in history has been captured in such detail and quality. Thanks to Sky News and NHK World.

As early as 426 BC the Greek historian Thucydides inquired in his book History of the Peloponnesian War about the causes of tsunami, and was the first to argue that ocean earthquakes must be the cause. While Japan may have the longest recorded history of tsunamis, the sheer destruction caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami 2004 event mark it as the most devastating of its kind in modern times, killing around 230,000 people.

Waves can travel at speeds up to 950km/h in deep water which can be represented by the speed    of  a passenger jet. The above video taken during the Japanese tsunami demonstrates the power of "wall of water" and the massive destruction it caused.

Approximately 99% of all fatalities have occurred within 160 miles (250 km) of the tsunami’s origin or within 30 minutes of when the tsunami was generated. Consequently, anyone in a coastal area who feels a strong earthquake should take that as a natural warning that a tsunami may be imminent and leave low-lying coastal areas. more

Tsunami waves do not look like normal waves because they do not break and curl as normal waves do. They come as rapid floods of water or in the form of a bore, which is a large, steep wave that looks like a wall of water. A tsunami hits land with thousands of times the power of a regular wave. Regular waves are caused by wind pushing water at the surface of the ocean or other body of water. Tsunami waves are created by an event that affects the entire water column, from the ocean floor to its surface.more

Location Date Fatalities
1. Indian Ocean 2004 225,000+
2. Crete-Santorini, Ancient Greece 1410 B.C. 100,000
3. Portugal-Morocco 1755 60,000
4. South Sea China 1782 40,000
5. Krakatau, Indonesia 1883 36,5000
6. Tokaido-Nankaido, Japan 1707 30,000
7. Sanriku, Japan 1896 26,360
8. Northern Chile 1868 25,674