Tsunami Strike Japan – Part 2 – Propagation

80 miles east of Japan, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake
rocks the ocean floor. This disturbance causes a transfer of energy
from the seafloor to the ocean, generating a series of ocean waves, known as a Tsunami. In about 20 minutes, waves strike the Japanese
coastline. Other nations go on high alert, because the
tsunami will propagate, or spread, throughout the Pacific Ocean. As the tsunami radiates outward from Japan,
it encounters a variety of ocean features, such as ridges and underwater volcanoes, which
guide the tsunami and create a complex pattern of scattering and reflective waves. In eight hours, the waves reach the Hawaiian
Islands, and in 9 1/2 hours they hit the west coast of the United States. In 16 hours, the
tsunami reaches the Indian Ocean and New Zealand. And by 22 hours, the entire Pacific Ocean
had been affected. The impact of a tsunami can be highly variable
because of the complicated interactions with ocean features and coastline elements. Wave
height and speed will differ from place to place. Since tsunamis can be hundreds of miles long
and travel thousands of miles away from where they originated, they are considered a worldwide
threat when they form.

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