In this article, we'll look at what causes tsunamis, the physics that drives them and the effects of a tsunami strike. We'll also examine scientists' worldwide efforts to monitor and predict tsunamis in order to avoid major disasters.
On December 26, 2004, a series of devastating waves attacked coastlines all around the Indian Ocean, taking the largest toll of any tsunami ever recorded. The surges decimated entire cities and villages, killing more than 225,000 people within a matter of hours and leaving at least a million homeless.
Here's an animation of a tsunami detection system.
As pointed out by Gunnar Heinsohn, the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (325/330-after 391 A.D.) describes in precise and vivid terms a tsunami which has been dated to have occurred on July 21, 365 A.D.
Tsunamis have become more deadly and destructive in recent decades, not because they are larger but because coastal areas have increased their population density and infrastructure.