Tsunami destruction in Thailand

A tsunami, sometimes referred to as a tidal wave, is a series of ocean waves created when an earthquake or other major disturbance displaces a large volume of water. Powerful tsunamis such as the 2004 Indian Ocean event can devastate coastal regions as the waves sweep far inland.

Following a quake, tsunamis can travel for thousands of miles. For example, after the 2011 Sendai earthquake in Japan, a tsunami alert was issued for almost the entire Pacific region. Places as far away as Chile were affected by the alert.

A tsunami is often barely noticeable in deep ocean water, but as it approaches land and enters shallow water, the waves slow and increase in height.

Use the BBC News step-by-step tsunami animated guide to learn more.

Image: Thailand's coastline before (left) and after (right) the 26 December 2004 tsunami (credit: Geoeye/SPL)


Tsunami destruction in Thailand Tsunamis

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