In this data package you can learn about tsunamis using data and data interpretation techniques. Some background information on tsunamis is provided below and in the data package itself.

Literally “harbour-wave” in Japanese, the term tsunami has come to refer to any oceanic waves that is caused by the displacement of large volumes of water. Tsunamis differ from normal wind-forced sea-surface waves in that they have much longer wavelengths. Much like earthquakes, tsunamis are primarily created by sudden vertical movements along a fault in the Earth’s crust. Fault movement in the seafloor displaces a large volume of water above mean sea level. The energy produced from this displacement is transformed into a tsunami wave. Tsunamis are most common in the Pacific Ocean, which is surrounded by a ring of subduction zones capable of producing earthquakes of large magnitude. Other events such as landslides (both submarine and from subareal debris), underwater volcanoes, calving icebergs and meteorite impacts can also generate a tsunami.

Japanese Tsunami Propagation time

Grade Level

  • Undergraduate

Resource Category


Kara Aschenbrenner

Updated Date

Aug 9, 2016

Created Date

Aug 15, 2013