Did you know there’s a difference between a tsunami and a tidal wave?
Most people use those terms interchangeably, but in reality tidal waves and tsunamis are indeed very different things, with very different causes.
A tidal wave is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the other planets in our solar system on the water in the earth’s oceans.
While tidal waves can reach heights as great as 50 feet, they are usually not destructive in nature and they are extremely predictable.
A tsunami is caused when an earthquake, volcanic eruption and/or undersea landslide displaces a massive amount of ocean or lake water in a very short period of time.
And as is the case with the ones that occasionally pop up in the news, tsunamis are often extremely destructive.
Even worse, they tend to cause numerous casualties since they sometimes make landfall with little or no warning – and often at night.
As you can see, tidal waves are usually pleasant events for us humans to experience while tsunamis are the fodder of nightmares.
Once you understand what causes a tsunami, no further explanation is really necessary.
Tidal waves are a little more complicated, however.
The video below offers an excellent detailed explanation of how gravitational forces affect the water in the earth’s oceans.
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon in the lower right-hand corner of the video.