When movement along a fault moves the seafloor upward, water is also pushed upward and becomes tsunami waves. As the waves approach shallower water, they become higher.
Click on image for full size
How Tsunamis Form
A tsunami is several large waves made in an ocean or other body of water by a disturbance. The disturbance could be from an earthquake, landslide, volcano, or meteorite. The picture at the left shows how an earthquake can make a tsunami in the water that lies above.
Earthquakes under the sea
Earthquakes happen when Earth's tectonic plates move against each other. If an earthquake happens on the ocean floor, the water above can move as well. Tsunami waves are made as the water tries to find a stable position again.
Large earthquakes can cause these landslides. The landslide can also cause tsunami waves since the moving debris will cause water the move.
Did you know there were volcanoes under the sea? Sometimes a strong eruption from one of them can uplift the water above and generate a tsunami.
Falling asteroids disturb the water from above, much like a stone falling into a pond (but much larger!).
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
The ground underfoot might seem like it's not going anywhere but it is. It moves. If it moves all of a sudden the ground shakes. That's an earthquake! Earthquakes happen as pieces of the Earth's crust...more
1. Tsunamis that strike coastal locations in the Pacific Ocean Basin are almost always caused by earthquakes. These earthquakes might occur far away or near where you live. 2. Some tsunamis can be very...more
This picture was taken from high above our planet. Looking at the Earth from very far away like this we can see that some parts of our planet look light in color, and some parts look dark. The color of...more
Did you know that many species of birds live in the desert? You have probably heard of the roadrunner or seen the cartoon. The roadrunner is a real bird that lives in the desert! It prefers to run rather...more
Deserts are very hot and dry places. Deserts get very little rain each year. So how do plants and animals live here? This section on the desert ecosystem will explain how! Do you know what a desert looks...more
There are all kinds of insects in the desert! Some of them cause a lot of problems. The locusts fly from place to place, eating all the plants they see. But not all desert bugs are bad. There isn't a...more
There are many species of mammals in the desert! Many of them dig holes in the ground to live in. These holes are called burrows. Rats and hamsters live in burrows. Bigger mammals, like the wild horse,...more