Today’s article is about tsunamis, what they are and how to survive them. The word tsunami comes from the Japanese words harbor and wave.

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a surge of water inland. Sometimes they are confused with tides, but they have nothing to do with them. This confusion occurs because one of the clearest signs that one is about to happen is the drastic reduction of the water level, about 5 minutes before the surge. They can travel at a speed of up to 800km/h, the same speed as a fighter jet. A lot of people think a tsunami is a single giant wave. The truth is that there can be up to 3 on a 24h period.

How to spot it?

Depending on the geographic zone we live, there might be a safety plan against tsunamis. If we are near the pacific ring of fire, where 80% of the world’s tsunamis occur, we can download an app to have direct access to warnings and notifications about seismic activity, plus, this places usually have an alarm system and pre-determined safe routs to follow on the event of a tsunami.
In case you are at a place where it’s not “common” to occur a tsunami, you need to pay attention to the natural signs:
  • Animals show a weird behavior- If you are scuba diving, you will notice that animals have an erratic behavior or will simply disappear. Birds will fly away to higher points. Dogs may bark and try to hide.
  • If we feel, hear or spot an earthquake, a meteorite, landslide or Vulcanic eruption, there may be followed by a tsunami- These phenomenon may occur about 3000 Km away and reach the shore in less than 4 hours.
  • The most evident sign of a tsunami is the drop of the sea level- Due to this fast drop, we may see fish in the sand, the seabed or wrecks of ships that never had been seen before. The tsunami will follow a few minutes later.
  • Sometimes you can ear it before you see it- The sound is similar to a freight train. Sometimes people don’t spot the tsunami right away because they are waiting for this big wave and it may happen just as a fast rise of water level.

What makes tsunami?

  • Earthquake
  • Landslide
  • Vulcanic eruption
  • Meteorite

How to survive a tsunami?

The secret to survive a tsunami is to be quick! We need to pay attention to the signs and have a safety plan. Get to safety! 30 meter high or 3km inland. On countries that are a part of the pacific fire ring there are safety plans already in place that should be consulted before visiting these places. If you are near the sea and don’t have time to run, you can climb a tree, but there is a big chance that it will break with the water strength. On the worst-case scenario, you are on the water. If you are on a boat on deep water, it’s best to go to deeper water than to go to shore, since the waves are bigger in there. If you are near water and can’t escape, try to find something big and insufflated so you can protect yourself from impact of other objects.