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A tsunami is a natural disaster more devastating than earthquakes, tornadoes, or any other disaster you can think of. The word tsunami is pronounced soo-nam-me. Tsunami is a Japanese word that means harbor wave.
A tsunami happens when huge waves are formed after something under the ocean occurs to make these large waves form. Erupting volcanoes can also cause tsunamis to occur. The waves start in one area but they move quickly in all different directions once the tsunami begins.
If you have ever watched the water ripple after you threw a stone into the water, this is similar to what happens. The difference is that when it is a tsunami the waves are much larger. The ocean goes out of control.
Tsunamis begin as an under the water earthquake. The force of the earth moving causes the water to move and produce huge waves. The water slows in speed as it moves to shallow water. However, this causes the waves to start to pile up on top of each other.
Waves from a tsunami can travel through the water as fast as 500 miles per hour. These big waves race to the shallow water on the coastline and crash into the shore. As they approach the coast, they continue to grow in size before smashing down on the cities and towns along the coastline. These waves can often be as high as 100 feet.
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