Term Paper: Natural Disaster Tsunami

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Natural Disaster

Tsunami

There are a number of tsunami occurrences that has been recorded around the world. Each time a tsunami occurs, a great wave of devastation and destruction is found in the affected areas.

Below is the listing of the highly noted and most damaging tsunami that has occurred around the world. It should be noted that the latest record in here is in Sumatra (2004) where 230000 people died. This information does not involve the amount of money, and properties that were also swept away by the big waves of tsunami.

National Geophysical Data Center

However, when taking into consideration the non-damaging vs. The damaging tsunami occurrences, statistics revealed that still, the number of non-damaging tsunami outperformed the number of damaging tsunami.

Source: National Geophysical Data Center

Tsunami, however damaging or non-damaging it might be - is still considered a dreaded disaster for everybody. The efforts of the oceanographers, policy makers and other concerned citizens in creating any possible thing, gadget or equipment that will help prevent or even help warn the people from its possible occurrence are enough proofs that tsunami is a serious problem.

Oceanographic Causes of Tsunami

Tsunami is considered as one of the deadliest natural disaster of our time. It rarely occurs, but when it does, it can affect a huge number of people. More so, the occurrence of tsunami is very hard to predict. Occurrence of tsunamis, like earthquakes, will never be known for certain, because it depends on various equally "unknowable factors like the exact topography of the seabed at the epicenter of a quake" (Newsweek International, 2005).

Based on studies, there are series of oceanographic processes that lead to the occurrence of tsunami. Like what happened to the tsunami in the Indian Ocean last December of 2004. The said tsunami is found to be caused by the giant forces that had been building up deep in the Earth for hundreds of years. These forces caused an earthquake which was the result of the gliding of some part of the Earth's crust of India plate under the section of the Burma plate. The sudden earthquake several kilometers below the sea level has caused disruption in the movement of the waters (National Geographic News, 2005).

The epicenter of the 9.0 magnitude quake was under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The violent movement of sections of the Earth's crust, known as tectonic plates, displaced an enormous amount of water, sending powerful shock waves in every direction." (National Geographic News, 2005)

In just several minutes, the disturbed seafloor has sent great volume of waves along the seashore of the Indian Ocean. It has reached the coastal lines of 11 Indian Ocean countries even reaching up to the far end of Africa to Thailand.

It was reported that the said Indian Ocean tsunami has crated waves of 50 feet (15 meters) high in some places coupled with rapid surging of the ocean (National Geographic News, 2005)

Effects of Tsunami

The impact of Tsunami cannot be measured easily. Every after a tsunami has occurred, "piles of rubble, wrecked houses, flooded fields, large broken fishing boats and hundreds of dead bodies strewn" will be seen along the coast and no one will even bother to pick them up because every human being in the area will be very busy trying to survive (Bhattacharyya, n.d.). This is the normal picture after the tsunami. However, the specific impact of tsunami can be categorized into two - the environmental aspect and the human aspect.

Environmental

Tsunami is a natural disaster, normally caused by natural phenomena, which can strongly affect the environment. Like for example in countries where ecotourism is the major source of income. When Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, its fishing and ecotourism was left in a devastated state. Meanwhile, in Thailand, the coral reefs under the most Thai's oceans were hit hard by debris and huge waves brought by tsunami. This in turn resulted to destruction of the possible homes for millions of fishes, invertebrates and even mangroves (Flatow, 2005).

Picture taken right after the Tsunami hit the fields located in Northwest Sumatra. (Bhattacharyya, n.d.)

Indeed, tsunami can leave the environment of the particular area it in a real bad state. Trees, houses, agricultural lands, tourists spots - all these can be destroyed very quickly. However, the negative impact does not end there. Underlying impacts are more profound because as these trees, sea plants and coral reefs and agricultural lands among others are destroyed the very animals and people who are dependent on such environmental aspects are also extremely affected.

Animals that are dependent on trees and plants for food and houses will be left homeless and starving. In less than a time, they will either die in starvation or relocate in other areas. Farming will of course be affected if agricultural lands are destroyed. This too, will result to higher degree of starvation both on the animals and the human beings.

Tsunami has also been reported to create geographical impact to the world. Like for example the tsunami that has occurred in the Indian Ocean. Based on series of reports and studies, the recent tsunami had pushed India 12 cm closer to its neighboring country - Indonesia. Specifically, the movement of the land masses showed that Southern India moved 10-15mm eastward while Sumatra moved a bit going west. This in turn brought that two countries 12cm nearer to each other (Bhattacharyya, n.d.).

The soil and water in coastal areas are also recorded to be showing drastic changes as an aftermath of tsunami. Based on records, the level of salinity of both water and soil changed. After the tsunami, the salinity of both soil and water became highly enriched which are of different chemical nature (Bhattacharyya, n.d.).

The coastal soils have turned out to be more saline due to the process of secondary salinisation. The saline water contains excess of neutral soluble salts mostly chlorides and sulfates of Na, Ca, and Mg..." (Bhattacharyya, n.d.).

Lastly, tsunami can cause environmental pollution which is of course, hazardous to health. After the tsunami, dead bodies of animals and human beings will be left lying around, coupled with broken houses boats, lamp posts, etc. The rivers are contaminated with saline water.

Needless to say, the sewage, latrines, toilets in the dwelling units in the coastal areas are mixed up with the tsunami water. Effluents from the small and medium industries are also exposed (Bhattacharyya, n.d.). All these cause too much pollution and hazards to health.

Human Effects

Tsunami causes death and trauma. Thousand of people die as an aftermath of Tsunami. Those who managed to survive suffer from mental anguish as they lost their loved ones, their relatives, their children, their homes, their properties and many more (Bhattacharyya, n.d.).

After the tsunami, people are left with no homes and no resources. They would either be leaving a good number of months in some institutions or government-funded housing. Some others will remain in the hospitals for the injuries caused by tsunami.

Most kids will stop schooling. Some people will find ways to relocate in areas where they can find new works and new homes. But, however hard this people try to move on, they will be haunted by what they had gone through in relation to the occurrence of tsunami.

How Tsunami can be Prevented

Tsunami, as stated above is a natural disaster. Unlike typhoons or storms, no body can really predict or detect when tsunami might occur. However, when tsunami is about to occur, or several hours before a tsunami occurs, warning and signs may provide a very big help to the people, particularly those who are living near the coastal areas. This is where the role of the oceanographers may find very useful.

Early warning… [END OF PREVIEW]

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