2011 Tsunami Propagation
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Practice plotting information on a map and doing simple wave speed calculations.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Practice reading and interpreting information contained on a map. Synthesizing the information from lecture regarding the difference between shallow-water and deep-water waves to better understand how this relates to the speed of the tsunami wave front.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
This activity uses data collected from DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) stations in the Pacific following the 2011 tsunami generated off the coast of Japan. Based on tsunami arrival times at each DART station, students are required to map the wave front after 5, 10, and 15 hours to better understand the speed and propagation of the tsunami wave. Students are required to estimate when the tsunami would arrive at various locations and then use these estimations to calculate the speed of the wave. At the end of the activity students should understand how tsunami waves propagate across the ocean (roughly circular trajectory), that tsunami are shallow water waves and what this means for calculating the wave speed, and that tsunami, like all waves, are a propagation of energy.
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Information about the 2011 tsunami from NGDC including raw DART data:
Before and after photos in Japan: