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. The day after Japan's biggest earthquake, cities smoldered, soldiers lent helping hands, and a nuclear reactor exploded. The biggest earthquake in Japan's history Friday sparked three-story waves, hundreds of casualties, and towering infernos.
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.


See heroic firefighters and breathtaking devastation shared with the #wildfire2014 tag on Your Shot.
Twisters across much of the South and Midwest highlight seasonal dangers in vast strike zone. The National Geographic Society aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability.
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. But as they approach shoreline and enter shallower water they slow down and begin to grow in energy and height. When it does, it produces a vacuum effect that sucks coastal water seaward and exposes harbor and sea floors.


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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