Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Jan Harff, Martin Meschede, Sven Petersen, Jörn Thiede


  • Jose C. Borrero
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6644-0_146-3


A tsunami (plural, tsunami or tsunamis) is a series of water waves caused by an impulsive disturbance to a body of water. Tsunamis are most commonly caused in the ocean through the deformation of the seafloor during an earthquake or as a result of a submarine landslide. Additional source mechanisms include volcanic eruptions, subaerial landslides, asteroids falling into a body of water, or meteorological forcing (also referred to as “meteo-tsunami”). The word tsunami is Japanese (Kanji: 津波) and translates literally to “harbor wave,” due to the fact that this phenomenon was frequently observed in bays and harbors in Japan. Tsunamis are also referred to as “tidal waves” and “seismic sea waves.”

Tsunami Generation

Tsunamis can generally be categorized as “near field” or “far field” depending on where the majority of its effects occur. A far-field tsunami (also “tele-tsunami” or “transoceanic tsunami”) is one which causes damage or serious effects at great distances from the...


Tsunami Wave Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Deposit Tsunami Propagation Submarine Landslide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.eCoast Ltd., Marine Consulting and ResearchRaglanNew Zealand