Geography and History of the World © 2010 Indiana Edition

Chapter 26: Physical Geography of East Asia


In this chapter you have studied the physical geography of East Asia and have learned that many Pacific countries are vulnerable to coastal destruction and loss of life because of tsunamis. These gigantic sea waves are hard to detect. They travel silently beneath the sea surface very fast for hundreds and even thousands of miles until they reach land. Then, they suddenly unleash their great force. In this activity, you will learn about tsunamis in more detail, including why they occur, what their effects are, and where they occur. You will also learn what steps people are taking to defend against tsunamis.

Destination Title: Waves of Destruction: Tsunamis

Start at the PBS Online feature on tsunamis.
  • Scroll down the page, taking notes as you read.
  • At the bottom of the page, click on the link Sidebar One: Catching a Tsunami in the Act. Read this article. You may also want to click on and read Sidebar Two: Remembrance of Waves Past.

Using the information you have gathered, answer the following questions.

How fast do tsunamis travel? Why do they slow down as they approach the shore?
What can trigger a tsunami?
Describe what a tsunami looks like out on the open ocean.
What steps have Japan and the United States taken to defend against tsunamis?
Design and create a colorful and informative brochure for residents of a coastal region. Your goal is to inform people about tsunamis and persuade them to follow certain safety measures. The booklet will provide facts explaining essentials about tsunamis and what people should do to survive. In your brochure, give a brief general statement explaining what a tsunami is, then present key facts about tsunamis in an easy-to-understand way. Include pictures or drawings to make your brochure more interesting. An additional Internet reference site that may be useful is the University of Washington Web site titled Tsunami!
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