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Question Set: Tsunamis
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas
Table of Contents
  1. About 90 percent of tsunamis occur in the Pacific ocean basin. Why do you think this is?
  2. Why do you think captains move their boats into deeper offshore water when a tsunami warning is issued?
  3. If an area has been recently devastated by a tsunami, is it more or less likely to be hit by another tsunami in the near future? Explain the reasons for your answer.
  4. Do you think climate change will have an effect on the frequency of tsunamis?  Explain the reasons for your answer.

Fig. 5.33. Estimates of tsunami travel time across the Pacific ocean basin for a tsunami originating in Hawai‘i. The concentric dotted circles represent the travel time in hours from Honolulu.

Image by Byron Inouye

Use Figure 5.33 to answer the following questions.

  1. Approximately how many hours does it take tsunami waves generated from volcanic eruptions in, Hawai‘i, US, to reach Sydney, Australia?
  2. If a tsunami warning is issued after an earthquake occurs off the coast of Los Angeles, CA, approximately how long do people have to evacuate in Honolulu, HI, US?
  3. If a massive earthquake occurs off Lima, Peru, how long do people in Tokyo, Japan, have to prepare for tsunami waves?

Use Table 5.1 (comparing storm and tsunami waves) to answer the following questions.

  1. Which type of destructive wave do you think is more problematic to coastal dwellers—storm waves or tsunami waves? Explain the reasons for your answer.
  2. Which type of wave is most likely to catch people by surprise? Why?
  3. Why do you think both the deadliest recorded storm and the deadliest recorded tsunami events occurred in Bangladesh?


Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.