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Here are 7 little known yet interesting tsunami facts to make you “Tsunami Smart”:

1.    The word tsunami (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is composed of the Japanese words “tsu” (harbour) and “nami” (wave).

2.    A tsunami is usually a series of travelling ocean waves and the first wave is often not the largest.

3.    More than 80% of the world's tsunamis were caused by earthquakes and over 60% of these were observed in the Pacific.

4.    Where the ocean is very deep, tsunami waves can travel as fast as a commercial jet. This means that a tsunami can move from one side of an ocean to the other in less than a day.

5.    The largest earthquake ever instrumentally recorded occurred in southern Chile on May 22, 1960. That 9.5 magnitude quake triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami that ravaged the nearby coast of Chile, as well as, far away coasts in Hawaii and Japan.

6.    The earthquake that triggered the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami turned out to be more powerful than initially believed. Research by United States seismologists put it at magnitude 9.3 and not a magnitude 8.0 as initially measured.  It is second only to the 9.5 magnitude quake recorded in Chile in 1960.

7.    The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed more people than any other tsunami in recorded history. Over a quarter of a million people lost their lives.

Source: UNESCO-IOC-ITIC (2006). Tsunami Teacher Resource Kit. Paris, France.

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