Myth vs Reality: Tsunami Waves

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This short segment addresses the dangerous misconception that a tsunami is a single wave. 

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

·       Photo of tsunami waves hitting the coast of Minamisōma in Fukushima prefecture, March 11, 2011: Sadatsugu Tomizawa/AFP/Getty Images

Written by Leah Ramsay
Designed by Dani Player and Leah Hustak
Editorial and design input from Margaret W. Carruthers, Timothy Rhue II, John Godfrey, and Claire Blome
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music

Text, Myth Versus Reality. Myth, A tsunami is a giant wave.
Reality, A tsunami is a series of waves. In the deep ocean, tsunami waves are small in height and the distance between wave crests can be more than 100 miles. Tsunami waves get taller as they move into shallower water. The first wave is not always the largest.