CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tsunami. Artwork of a tsunami as it destroys boats in a small harbour. A man is seen running in a futile attempt to escape. Tsunamis are giant waves caused by seismic activity, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption. In the open sea they exist as flat but extremely fast waves, moving at almost 1000 kilometres per hour in some cases. As they enter shallower water, the waves steepen as their fronts are slowed, and they may rise to heights of over 30 metres. They are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "tidal waves", as they are unrelated to regular tidal movements. The largest wave ever recorded was 85 metres tall, and hit Japan in 1771.
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