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published by the Earth and Space Sciences (ESS)
Tsunamis, unlike wind-generated water waves, can have a wavelength in excess of 100 km and a period in excess of one hour.  Tsunamis can travel great, transoceanic distances with limited energy losses, causing catastrophic results when they reach a shoreline.  This web site provides a set of simple tutorials on the physics of tsunamis.  Each tutorial is presented in clear, straightforward language, with multiple animations and simulations to depict how these destructive waves originate and propagate.  

This item is part of a larger set of resources on tsunamis developed and maintained by the Earth and Space Sciences project at the University of Washington.

Please note that this resource requires Quicktime.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Compound Waves
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
- Reference Material
= Nonfiction Reference
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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© 2002 University of Washington Earth and Space Sciences Center
reference, tsunami, tutorial
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created March 10, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 13, 2008

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Wave Energy
Unit Title: Types of Mechanical Waves

One way to get students excited about wave energy is to study tsunamis.  How can a wave that is barely visible to a ship at sea become so destructive upon reaching a shoreline?  This set of tutorials, simple enough for students to understand, explains how these catastrophic wave trains originate and propagate through vast oceanic distances.  Each tutorial is accompanied by simulations that model the fundamentals of this phenomenon.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Earth and Space Sciences (ESS), Seattle, 2002), WWW Document, (https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html).
The Physics of Tsunamis (Earth and Space Sciences (ESS), Seattle, 2002), <https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html>.
APA Format
The Physics of Tsunamis. (2008, January 13). Retrieved April 24, 2024, from Earth and Space Sciences (ESS): https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html
Chicago Format
Earth and Space Sciences (ESS). The Physics of Tsunamis. Seattle: Earth and Space Sciences (ESS), January 13, 2008. https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html (accessed 24 April 2024).
MLA Format
The Physics of Tsunamis. Seattle: Earth and Space Sciences (ESS), 2002. 13 Jan. 2008. 24 Apr. 2024 <https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {The Physics of Tsunamis}, Publisher = {Earth and Space Sciences (ESS)}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {24 April 2024}, Month = {January 13, 2008}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%T The Physics of Tsunamis %D January 13, 2008 %I Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) %C Seattle %U https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D January 13, 2008 %T The Physics of Tsunamis %I Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) %V 2024 %N 24 April 2024 %8 January 13, 2008 %9 text/html %U https://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/general/physics/physics.html

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