Tsunami Facts

Tsunamis have become popular only in the recent times, but they have been existing and have caused damages since ages.  Tsunami is one of the most dangerous disasters caused from the ocean and can have far reaching consequences like washing out the entire city, taking years to recover and re- build human civilization. Here are some simple tsunami tales to enlighten oneself about this havoc creating disaster.

What is a Tsunami?

A Tsunami is not just a single wave but a series of ocean waves called a wave train caused by an underwater earthquake, by a volcanic eruption, landslide, rapid changes in atmospheric pressure, or a meteorite.


Below are 40 Facts on Tsunami

Fact 1: An underwater earthquake, a volcano eruption or a landslide mostly causes a tsunami.

Fact 2: Only on very few occasions a tsunami is cause by a giant meteor in the ocean.

Fact 3: Tsunami waves can be as huge as 100 feet.

Fact 4: About 80% of the tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire.

Fact 5: Tsunami is also commonly known as killer waves.

Fact 6: The tsunami that occurred in December 2004 in the Indian Ocean is known to be the most powerful earthquake that has occurred till date.

Fact 7: The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 had an an epicenter of 9.0 magnitude and it killed over 216000 people in 14 countries.

Fact 8: The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 hit 11 countries from Thailand to Africa.

Fact 9: Tsunamis are the most common in Japan, and off-late they have spreading across many other countries.

Fact 10: The length of a tsunami as long as 100 kilometers and the distances of continually occurring tsunami can be as far as 1 hour.

Fact 11: Scientists believe that in the year 1700, a tsunami of magnitude 9 occurred in the Pacific Ocean in the northwest and caused massive flooding and damage in Japan.

Fact 12: Tsunamis can travel as fast as 5000 miles per hour, without being noticed and can cross the entire ocean in less than a day.

Fact 13: A Tsunami can be even less than 30 centimeters in height an can pass of unnoticed.

Fact 14: Tsunami waves get stronger as they succeed and not usually the first hit is that impactful as the succeeding ones.

Fact 15: Tsunamis can travel up to the speed of 500- 800 kilometers per hour.

Fact 16: The Indian Ocean tsunamis waves have always been 30 feet and above.

Fact 17: Flooding caused by tsunami on the mainland can be more than a thousand feet.

Fact 18: The places with the greatest risk of tsunami are Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska and California.

Fact 19: One should not swim in the tsunami water as the current is always pulling the person to the opposite direction.

Fact 20: Tsunamis are always high on energy and can travel miles across any ocean.


Fact 21: Tsunami is a term, which literally means a harbor wave. A term specific to Japan.

Fact 22: Scientists can estimate an almost accurate time as to when and which part is tsunami most likely to occur. Their estimation is based on calculations like depth of water, time of the earthquake, distance from place to place etc.

Fact 23: The Indian Ocean tsunami that took place in December 2004 was estimated to have energy of 23,000 atom bombs. It killed around 283,000 people.

Fact 24: A tsunami is a series of waves, usually referred to as a wave train.

Fact 25: Thucydides, a Greek historian in his book History of Peloponnesian War was first associated the term tsunamis with underwater earthquakes.

Fact 26: Deep in the ocean, tsunamis are only 1-3 feet tall and the passers may not even be aware of the occurring tsunami under the water.

Fact 27: People who live in coastal areas, upon experiencing extremely strong earth quakes should be aware that a tsunami is likely to occur.

Fact 28: Many scientists believe that a tsunami created by a meteorite had occurred on earth 3.5 billion year back.

Fact 29: Palm trees with strong trunks  are planted on shore as they are known to survive a tsunami.

Fact 30: A mega tsunami has very huge waves and has occurred in Alaska in 1958. Surprisingly only two people died.

Fact 31: Scientists predict that the next mega tsunami will occur Canary island and will cause damage upto American coastal cities like Boston Miami and new York with waves as high as 100 feet.

Fact 32: A tsunami that occurred in Lisbon in 1755 killed 90,000 residents within minutes.

Fact 33: The costliest tsunami occurred in U.S. and Canada in 1964. Damage was as huge as $106 million.

Fact 34: Majority of people who died in the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami were women and children.

Fact 35: Tsunami can poison mainland with a lot of salt, causing  people to die out of hunger and disease after the tsunami is gone.

Fact 36: In the last 2,000 years, 50, 000 people have died due to a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean.

Fact 37: Hawaii in U.S. is at a greater risk for a Tsunami. Hawaii get about one Tsunami every year and damaging one every seven years.

Fact 38: The 2011 Japan Tsunami is believed to be world’s most expensive disaster in history.

Fact 39: Tsunamis can travel across oceans as they retain their energy with limited energy loss.

Fact 40: When stuck in Tsunami, it is recommended to grab a floating object and allow the current to carry you.

Image credit: epugachev , robysaltori


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.