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TsunamiFriday, November 5th., was observed World Tsunami Awareness Day.  Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning "harbor Wave".   It can happen anytime, any season, and during any weather.  It is caused by a violent seafloor movement associated with earthquakes, underwater landslides, lava entering the sea, seamount collapse or meteorite impact.   The most active area is the Pacific Ocean and Indonesia because the Pacific Rim bordering the ocean has a large number of active submarine earthquake zones.  The waves can reach a width of 63 miles, a height of up to 48 feet or more, and a speed of up to 498 miles per hour in the deep ocean. 

In some places a tsunami may cause the sea to rise vertically only a few inches or feet.  In other places tsunamis have been known to surge vertically as high as 100 feet.  However, most tsunamis cause the sea to rise no more than 10 feet.  The first wave may not be the largest.  The 2nd. 3rd. 4th. or later waves are the life taking.  After the first wave floods inland, it recedes toward the sea and goes back usually to a distance a person can see the seafloor when it is exposed.

The last and largest United States tsunami was on October 18, 2015 caused by a landslide in Icy Bay, Alaska.  It created a wave of 1700 feet in height, and inundated 5 square miles of land.  It was triggered by a landslide of 90 million tons of rock.  Amazingly, only 2 people were killed.   In the United states, there have been a total of 72 tidal waves classified as a tsunami since 1937 with a death toll of 548 people.

On December 26, 2004, Boxing Day, a tsunami occurred in the Indian Ocean that killed thousands of people and affected 14 countries.  It is estimated that 230,000 died in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India alone, with the hardest hit country being Thailand.

World Tsunami Awareness Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly after the deadly 2004 tsunami and has been observed continuously every year since 2015.  It seeks to create cognizance among people of the tsunami, most importantly the 700 million people living in low-lying coastal areas and islands.  It is estimated that by 2030 50% of the world's population will live in coastal areas.  Basically, the target of the campaign is to scale up international cooperation to developing countries to help insure that 100% of communities at risk of tsunamis are prepared for and resilient to tsunamis by 2030.  Since the most notorious locations where tsunamis occur is in the so-called "Ring of Fire", in the Pacific Ocean, warning systems work well here.  This also includes Indonesia and Japan. 

These protection systems can be found in Australia, Chili, India, and the United States, especially Hawaii and Alaska.  These are warning systems with 2 components, forecasting and warning.  A network of seismicity measuring stations is installed in the ocean, sometimes in combination with GPS buoys.  They send the measured values via a satellite to a warning substation.  The speed at which a warning is then spread depends on the type of system.  For example, the Japanese residents learned of the tsunami threat within 3 minutes during the 2011 earthquake. 

The country has dramatically improved its technologies ever since.  As soon as the population is informed of an approaching tsunami wave, it is advised to go inland and as high as possible from the seashore.  To keep the endangered well informed, a combination of several warnings is used in the area.  It can be a combination of a radio or internet warning and a text message.  This is reasonably fast and useful, but may not cover all vulnerable groups of people, especially the marginalized groups.  Also, power outages may occur and postpone or prevent the delivery of the warning.  Then a warning sent from a control center that is usually directly connected by software to a monitoring system of sensors, which allows quick mobilization of emergency units. 

It is also considered an intermediate level that controls the dissemination of the warning and the activation of the systems of electronic sirens.  The acoustic siren warning can be activated manually or automatically.  Sirens work as a highly reliable technology due to their robustness, backup power supply and possible interconnection with a monitoring system.  It can also broadcast voice messages and help to coordinate  rescue operations.  One of the advantages of modern warning systems is their variability and scalability. Because it is minutes that matter in tsunamic disasters, warning systems are a necessity in many locations around the world.

We call this "Misty Roller".  This is not a tsunami, but a pretty big wave off the north shore of Oahu Island during a surfing competition.  The surf was really up that day, perfect for the competition.

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"The deadly effects of a tsunami last long even after the water has gone and the land is dry"