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What is the Most Dangerous Water Event?


Tsunamis can kill


A tsunami is caused by an underwater earthquake. The motion of the slipping plates causes water motion deep below the surface. The waves, which have incredibly long wavelengths, kilometers or more, grow in amplitude as they near a shoreline, and can be twenty feet or more in height when they hit. The deadly tsunami of December 26, 2004, from a class-9 earthquake off Indonesia, killed at least 140,000 people in twelve countries from Thailand to Somalia, with over 100,000 of the total killed by the tsunami or the earthquake in Indonesia alone. Disease and lack of fresh water will add to the total dead from this devastating event. Often improperly called "tidal waves", the violent walls of water have nothing to do with normal tides, which are caused by the Moon's gravity. For more information on tsunamis see the "waves" section of the "topics" library.


NOAA International Tsunami Information Center

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