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What Does Energy Do to Water?

1 Have

you heard of seismic sea waves? Seismic sea waves are a series of
enormous waves created by an underwater disruption such as an
earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption. When a tremor shakes the
land under the ocean or sea, it causes the water at the surface to rise up in
a hump. This high hump (swell) of water starts moving away. The force
underneath causes the water to uplift or be displaced in a huge column to
become a tsunami wave or seismic sea wave that builds up in size and
speed as it roars to onto the shore. A tsunami wave can be a wall of water
as tall as 100 feet high.
youre not sure what a tsunami wave is, think about what happens
when you fill up a bathtub with water and then sit your body in it. As you
enter the back part of bathtub and sit down into the water, the water
displaces and rises in level through splashes in a wave of energy toward
the front where the drain, faucet and spout is. It has real power to it
because energy has been transferred.


2 If

3 Tsunamis

most often damage the land and everything on it near the

shoreline. It also snaps trees like twigs, collapses buildings, sweeps away
cars and floods the land. Due to the immense volumes of water and energy
involved, tsunamis can destroy coastal regions. Human and animal
casualties are high as waves move faster than humans and animals can
run. In this experiment, you will observe the effect of water energy on land
near a beach. The experiment below will take some time.

Large plastic cake pan

Small gravel or sand
Measuring cup
Distilled water
Sturdy plastic wrap
Towel or sponge
Notebook and a pencil

There is a special way to measure the

strength of tsunamis. The tsunami
intensity scale is arranged to the effects
on humans, on nature and objects, and
on buildings. A high number means
something has been completely
damaging. And something in the middle
is called neutral or moderate damage.
Usually each level is 10 times stronger
than the one before. There are about
six tsunamis per century. If there is an
earthquake at 6.75 or higher a tsunami
will probably occur.
The Tsunami Scale


Earthquake underwater.
Water forms a hump.
Wall of water that has been displaced by energy.

Moderate 10


1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the plastic cake pan
approximately 4 inches in diameter. Check to make sure
there are no rough edges. The hole should be smooth around
the edges. If it is rough, recut off the sharper points, which will make it even. Tilt it to the side and
look at it at an angle. If there are additional uneven parts,
snip them off, and recheck.
2. Take the plastic wrap and roll it out from the container.
Place the plastic cake pan underneath to measure the length
of the plastic wrap. Make sure it fits over the plastic cake
pan. Recheck. If there is not enough plastic to cover the
plan, reroll the plastic. Should you accidently cut the plastic
before you check, either start over or add on another section of plastic. Check to make sure the
seam is tight. Tape plastic wrap on the outside of the pan covering the hole. Make sure it is water
3. Place the gravel at the bottom of the pan. Make sure you spread out the gravel to one end or edge
like the land rising up or a slide going toward towards the ocean. The gravel will be your land. It
needs to be spread evenly in an upward slope towards one edge of the pan. Be careful not to cover
the hole with the gravel.
4. Fill the cake pan with 16 ounces of water.
5. Lay the pan across two tables so that the pan spans across an open area, yet is held upright by the
edges of the tables. Make sure the pan is flat.
6. Label the parts of the model:
6. Gently tap on the plastic wrap at on the bottom. What happens? Why?
7. Change the strength of your tap. What is the effect? What is the cause?
8. Increase the strength of your tap even greater. What is the result? Why?
9. Intensify the tap even grander. What takes place? Why? Record the results.
10. Clean up any water that spills out with a sponge or towel.

Results to Record in your Notebook

Gentle Tap of Plastic
Covering Hole in Pan
with Water

Strengthened Tap of Increased Tap of

Intensified Tap of
Plastic Covering Hole Plastic Covering Hole Plastic Covering Hole
in Pan with Water
in Pan with Water
in Pan with Water