The word Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning ‘Harbor wave’. It involves the displacement of very large quantities of water due to earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions.
Tsunami occurs due to earthquakes under the ocean. Natural barriers such as shoreline tree cover can mitigate effects of Tsunami.
On December 26, 2004 an earthquake of 8.9 intensity struck Sumatra in Indonesia with the epicenter near its west coast. This triggered a series of devastating Tsunamis along the coasts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. In India, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman & Nicobar Islands were severely affected. About 10,000 people died and several thousands were rendered homeless.
In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004, the Ministry of Earth Sciences has set up an Indian Tsunami Early Warning Center at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad. The Center is mandated to provide advance warnings on Tsunamis likely to affect the coastal areas of the country.
On March 11, 2011, one of the most technologically advanced countries, Japan, was hit by an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude on Richter Scale followed by a 13 ft tsunami in a few minutes. It was the strongest in the world since 130 years. Sendai airport was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud. A large fire erupted at Cosmo Oil Refinery.
State of emergency was declared as five reactors of two nuclear power plants lost cooling ability. Dangerous levels of radiation leak were reported on 15th March 2011 from Fukushima plant after third explosion and fire.
The force of the quake moved the island of Honshu by 8 ft to the east and the rotation of the Earth was sped up by 1.6 microseconds. The quake happened at the intersection of the North American and Pacific plates in the Northwestern side of the ‘Ring of fire’. The quake caused a rift 15 miles below sea floor that stretched 186 miles long and 93 miles wide.