A tsunami is a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet (30.5 meters), onto land.
In light of Friday's tsunami following the Japan earthquake, find out how the killer waves are caused, what the warning signs are, and how to respond when a tsunami threatens.
The deadly earthquake that struck Japan Friday sent a tsunami racing across the Pacific Ocean, reaching Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and California.

Southern California, Seattle, and Taiwan are some of the places where tsunamis may be more likely than thought, a new study says. And their long wavelengths mean they lose very little energy along the way.In deep ocean, tsunami waves may appear only a foot or so high.
Recognizing this phenomenon can save lives.A tsunami is usually composed of a series of waves, called a wave train, so its destructive force may be compounded as successive waves reach shore.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning System, a coalition of 26 nations headquartered in Hawaii, maintains a web of seismic equipment and water level gauges to identify tsunamis at sea.

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