Tsunamis Lesson for Kids Facts & Information

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  • 0:04 What is a Tsunami?
  • 1:01 The Ring of Fire
  • 1:35 Staying Safe
  • 1:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Greta VanBrackle

Greta has eleven years of experience teaching third and fourth grade students in all subject areas.

Tsunamis are waves of water that can cause a lot of damage if they hit the land. This lesson teaches you about tsunamis, how they form, and where they are most likely to happen.

What Is A Tsunami?

To understand a tsunami, you first have to think about earthquakes and volcanoes. Earthquakes and volcanoes can happen underwater, not just on land. And when they happen under the ocean, they can cause the earth's tectonic plates to move against each other and release a lot of pressure (tectonic plates are slabs of rock in the earth's crust).

This pressure can create ripples of water that build up and turn into giant waves, which is what a tsumani is. Underwater landslides and meteorite impacts can also be powerful enough to create this pressure, but most tsunamis are caused by earthquakes.

Usually there are several waves that form the tsunami, and this is called a wave train. A wave train can create a lot of damage as the waves reach shore. People and animals can be badly hurt, because the water rushing into land is extremely powerful and destructive. Buildings and cars can be knocked down and even carried away by the water! Tsunamis can also cause shipwrecks, damaged crops, unsafe drinking water, and fires from broken gas lines.

The Ring Of Fire

Coastal countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean basin are the most likely to have tsunamis. These coastal areas make up what is known as the Ring of Fire.

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