If the recent catastrophes in the Indian Ocean and Japan are any indication, tsunamis are likely to strike again and, will quite possibly be scarier and more destructive than ever before. It makes sense, therefore, to know a bit more about the horrific natural disaster that caused one of the worst nuclear disasters in the history of mankind.
The folks at RealLifeLore have created an amazing new video about tsunamis. In addition to dealing with questions about the average size of tsunami waves, the clip predicts just how big these killer waves can get. In some cases, for instance, they are capable of becoming as big as the tallest structures ever built by man. The video also delves into the causes of tsunami, which basically include underwater explosions from earthquakes and eruptions as well as the fall of large amounts of any material into the water due to landslides or even meteor strikes.
The resulting water displacement is what causes seismic sea waves. The force with which the substance hits the water surface and the depth of the water body in turn affect the size of the tsunami. As it comes closer to the land, its size and speed increase rapidly, thus creating even more destruction. The 2004 killer waves that rocked the Indian Ocean are believed to have reached heights of nearly 98 feet (around 30 meters), brought about by a 9.1 earthquake.
In case you are wondering, 30 meters is equal to the height of as many as 17 adults stacked one on top of the other. The total force of the tsunami, according to the team, was significantly greater than the combined impact of all the explosives, including the atomic bombs, used during the Second World War. Although caused an earthquake of similar size as the 2004 natural disaster, the more recent 2011 Japan tsunami produced waves that soared up to 133 feet (or 40.5 meters) in the air, which is only a few meters less than the Statue of Liberty.
These don’t even fall in the category of megatsunamis, which are generally the result of huge objects falling into oceans and generating waves that are few hundred meters in height. One such example is the 1963 Vajont Dam Disaster in Italy. During this catastrophe, a giant landslide dumped more than 340 million cubic yards (about 260 million cubic meters) of earth into a dammed reservoir, creating 820 feet (approx. 250 meters) high waves that killed as many as 2,500 people.
The 1958 cataclysm in Alaska’s Lituya Bay region was brought about by a powerful landslide, which produced waves nearly 1,722 feet (around 525 meters) tall. According to scientists, a more horrendous disaster occurred some 1.5 million years ago in Molokai in Hawaii, where a landslide due to a volcano led to a tsunami with waves more than 1,968 feet (or 600 meters) in height. That’s approximately the height of four Giza pyramids sitting atop one another.
If you go further back in time, you’ll arrive at the asteroid strike that led to the extinction of dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. Researchers are of the opinion that the impact from the asteroid’s fall was the same as the energy of over 2 million nuclear bombs, which is what generated monstrous waves that rose to more than 5 kilometers (approx. 3.1 miles) in the air. To put things into perspective, these waves were taller than most mountains on Earth, and were nearly half as high as Everest.