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There is a various definition upon every dictionary about the definition of tsunami, that
describes from the viewpoint of cause, quantity,or the shape of Tsunami. but in a
general and simple defining, tsunami is an extremely large wave caused by a violent
movement of the earth under the sea. (oxford online dictionary).

In a more scientific manner, A tsunami or tidal wave, also known as a seismic sea wave,
is a series of waves in a water body caused by the displacement of a large volume of
water, generally in an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other
underwater explosions (including detonations of underwater nuclear devices),
landslides, glacier calvings, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below
water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. Unlike normal ocean waves which
are generated by wind, or tides which are generated by the gravitational pull of the
Moon and Sun, a tsunami is generated by the displacement of water.

Photo 1 A Tsunami that hit Tohoku, Japan in 2011.

The term tsunami, meaning "harbour wave" in literal translation, comes from the

Japanese , composed of the two kanji (tsu) meaning "harbour" and

(nami), meaning "wave". (For the plural, one can either follow ordinary English
practice and add an s, or use an invariable plural as in the Japanese.) While not entirely
accurate, as tsunami are not restricted to harbours, tsunami is currently the term most
widely accepted by geologists and oceanographers.

But, are the meaning of tsunami in Japanese is the same with the definition of? The
answer is no.
The word tsunami has been used interchangeably with tidal wave. However, geologists
and oceanographers discourage the use of tidal wave in cases of tsunamis because they
are actually unrelated to tides. Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes, underwater
explosions, and meteorite impacts in an ocean, to name a few.

In the same vein, since the tsu in tsunami means harbor, it is equally inaccurate, as the
events are not limited to harbors. This leads me to believe we need a new, more
accurate term. Though considering the terms popularity and length of time it has been
in use, I find it doubtful a new term would find a meaningful foothold.

We have a long history about why a Japanese word about some tidal waves can be
usurped into the richness of English germanic vocabulary. The first English use of the
word happened more than 100 years ago.That's when an earthquake struck off the east
coast of Japan, very close to where the Tohoku 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami disaster

There was reporting in the National Geographic Magazine, and it said, 'On the evening
of June 15, 1896, the northeast coast of Hondo, the main island of Japan, was struck by
a great earthquake wave. and then it explained that the Japanese term for this was

From that first mention, the term became more widespread especially after the great
indian ocean tsunami disaster that devastated Indonesia in 2004.
The Great Wave of Kanagawa, a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.
c. 1829-1833. Almost one-third of all recorded large tsunamis happened in Japan, making it
fitting as the language the word tsunami originated.

3. What makes tsunami happen?

What makes tsunami special? The answer is that among the natural disaster, only tsunamis
which are caused by another. Below the list of natural disaster that caused the tsunamis.
a. Earthquakes

Most tsunami are caused by large earthquakes on the sea floor when slabs of rock move
past each other suddenly, causing the overlying water to move. The resulting waves
move away from the source of the earthquake event.

powerful undersea earthquakes are responsible for most tsunamis. Seismologists say
only earthquakes measuring greater than 7.0 on the Richter scale can produce a major

Most earthquakes that generate tsunamis - including Friday's jolt off Japan's eastern
coast - occur in areas called subduction zones, where pieces of the Earth's crust press
against each other. Subduction means that one tectonic plate slides beneath another
and sinks deep into the Earth's mantle.
The friction between two slow-moving plates of the Earth's crust creates vast amounts
of seismic energy which is released in the form of an earthquake. When a strong
undersea earthquake strikes a relatively short distance below the sea floor, it abruptly
pushes up one of the immense plates of the Earth's crust. That suddenly displaces an
enormous amount of ocean water which becomes a tsunami, spreading outward in
every direction from the epicenter of an earthquake - like ripples on a pond, only on a
much larger scale.

A Graphic of how earthquake can causes tsunami.

b. Landslides

Underwater landslides can cause tsunami as can terrestrial land which slumps into the
How Landslide can cause tsunami in pictures

c. Volcanic eruptions
Less common are tsunami initiated by volcanic eruptions. These occur in several ways:
destructive collapse of coastal, island and underwater volcanoes which result in
massive landslides
pyroclastic flows, which are dense mixtures of hot blocks, pumice, ash and gas,
plunging down volcanic slopes into the ocean and pushing water outwards
a caldera volcano collapsing after an eruption causing overlying water to drop

Picture explanation of how tsunami happened by volcano.

The percentage of each own factors contribution to the tsunamis in pacific ocean.

4 natural disaster that can caused tsunami.