Saturday, April 05, 2008
Tsnunami: The Rage: powerful short film on tsunamis (pre Indonesia 2004)
The short film “Tsunami: The Rage” (2005/1998, Bluth/Donavan, dir. Richard Bluth, 45 min, G, from “This Angry Earth” series) is a very noteworthy discussion of the science of tsunamis. It was filmed several years before the Indonesian / Indian Ocean catastrophe (of 2004). But it makes many basic points, particularly good for an earth sciences class.
“Tsunami” means “harbor wave” in Japanese. A tsunami is a seismic wave, not a tidal wave (it has nothing to do with lunar tides), as it sometimes was called in 50s horror films. A tsumami is the one natural disaster that acts “remotely” across whole oceans. Hilo, HI is said to be the “remote tsunami” capital of the world. Actually, so can a supervolcano eruption, because of the dust cloud.
Tsunamis do much more destruction that the earthquakes that usually cause them. The destruction is not just the in-and-out cycles of huge waves; it is the debris that hits existing structures and adds to the debris load. In smaller areas, as in inlets in Alaska in 1964, ordinary tsunamis can tower up to 100 feet.
The film showed the damage and covered in detail some major tsunamis: one in the Sea of Japan, the Alaska 1964 earthquake, the 1960 Chile earthquake which impacted Hilo Hawaii. Alexandria, Egypt was destroyed by a tsunami around 300 AD. The film actually starts with pictures of the devastation in Papua, New Guinea from a tsunami.
The film did not cover tsumanis the idea that landslides from earthquakes can greatly increase their heights. In fact, some scientists worry that an eruption of or earthquake in the Cumbre Viejo in the Canary Islands could send a 300 foot wave to the Atlantic Coast with all the cities within ten hours. Imagine a disaster movie (Dreamworks??) based on that scenario. Evacuation would be impossible. Here's an article by "Larry" from the "Terra Tabloid," link.