Ever wonder what causes those huge, destructive waves called tsunamis? This animated video from TED Ed is less than four minutes, but in that time your mid-elementary student (or higher) will get a solid understanding of this amazing, scary natural phenomenon.
The word “tsunami” is Japanese and means “harbor wave,” so named because if you’re out in the ocean a tsunami could pass underneath and you probably wouldn’t realize it. But as it reaches a shallow harbor, traveling at speeds up to 500 miles per hour, the tsunami wave rises up – sometimes as much as 100 feet high!
As with all TED Ed videos, you can go to the complete mini-lesson and ponder the “Think” and “Discuss” questions, plus learn more in the “Dig Deeper” section. For example, you’ll find an excellent article that digs into more research about tsunamis, see an animation of a tsunami warning system, and more.
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