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What is Tsunamis?

On July 19, 1998 PBS began a powerful four part Savage Earth series which was narrated by actor Stacy Keach. The fourth program was titled Waves of Destruction: Tsunami.

SAVAGE EARTH ONLINE, is the text companion to the series. Waves of Destruction: Tsunami features three short articles written by science journalist Daniel Pendick.

The first article titled Surf's Up explains exactly what tsunamis are and how they affect the earth's surface. Pendick says "On the open ocean, tsunami waves approach speeds of 500 mph, almost fast enough to keep pace with a jetliner."

The second article Catching a Tsunami in the Act (side bar one) Pendick states, "In Japan and the United States, the foundation of tsunami warnings systems is the seismometer. When officials detect a large, shallow earthquake under the ocean, they issue a warning. But this method is plagued by false alarms, since not every earthquake necessarily triggers a tsunami."

In the final article, Remembrance of Waves Past (side bar two) Daniel Pendick gives insight to tsunamis dating back to the 1700's. "In 1700, the offshore Cascadia Fault gave way and caused large portions of the coastline to sink as tension was released from the ground. According to the latest evidence, virtually the entire coast -- from Vancouver Island to Northern California -- may have been rocked by the quake, estimated to have measured magnitude 9.0 or greater."

Read Daniel Pendick's full PBS feature. See related articles to your right.

Tsunami Crisis: Help UNICEF Respond - Hundreds of thousands of children are at risk from the tsunamis that devastated coastal regions across South Asia on December 26 2004. Learn more and donate now to support relief efforts in this unprecedented emergency.

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