Term Paper: Tsunamis

Pages: 4 (1201 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Geography  ·  Buy This Paper

Tsunamis can be regarded as one of the most powerful representations of nature's force, considering the damage they generate and the fact that they are typically provoked by earthquakes. Frank I. Gonzalez's article on the subject provides readers with a through account, which is rather easy to it, obviously meant to address the masses. In spite of the fact that Gonzales addresses the matter from a general point-of-view, he nonetheless manages to put across elements that have his readers understand Tsunamis from the perspective of the victim and of the researcher.

Although they can also be triggered by other factors, tsunamis are most commonly set off by underwater seismic activity. Water is pushed upward by a subduction process caused when a tectonic plate moves under another. The speed with which water moves can apparently be greater than seven hundred kilometers per hour in some cases. The fact that coastal regions have recently experienced progress in urbanization has only added to the damage that tsunamis are likely to cause, considering that more and more people risk becoming victims (Escaleras & Register, 2008).

The most devastating tsunami reported in the history of mankind is the one that occurred on December 26, 2004 near the island of Sumatra. It is difficult to determine if this tsunami had also been the most intense to happen, given that its gravity is mostly owed to the fact that population was extremely dense on the island and in its vicinity. This tsunami's death toll is approximated at about 250,000. Because of the circumstances present, numbering victims is easier said than done, with debris, animals, and other factors contributing to making casualties less likely to be found (Escaleras & Register, 2008).

The destructive power of a tsunami is generally recognized and feared by people living on sea coasts (in particular) and by society as a whole. Gonzalez's example involving the July 17, 1998 tsunami on the northern coast of the New Guinean island is more than explicit, considering the fact that it is told from the viewpoint of someone that actually took part in the event. One can observe the fact that people are helpless in front of nature, as a tsunami basically leaves an individual with no other option but to hope that he or she will be lucky enough to survive. Even when someone gets to survive the giant waves, the respective person later has to avoid falling victim to other threats provoked by the tsunami, such as wild animals that have the possibility of entering human-inhabited territory of buildings that have had their structure affected because of the waves (Gonzalez).

Reaction time is crucial in such circumstances, even though there is not much one can do, as was the case with Sanawe. Going through such an event virtually leaves one confused and unable to react rationally, given that the deafening sound and the waves rising abnormally high most probably offer a terrifying experience. Regardless of the knowledge one has regarding tsunamis, being located on the beach renders one vulnerable, as that person is virtually a sitting duck likely to lose in the confrontation with nature (Gonzalez). Like said before, one can do little but to hope that they will survive such an episode.

Consequent to relating to the incident in Papua New Guinea, Gonzalez goes further to analyze tsunamis, their frequency, the places where they are likely to occur, and the numbers associated with the natural phenomenon. The writer highlights the fact that technology has made it possible for tsunamis to be dealt with more efficiently. Tsunami researchers presently cooperate in identifying, reporting, and preventing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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