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5 Differences in Tidal Waves and Tsunamis and the Explanations

by Grace Sabathya

As a maritime country and the largest archipelago in the world, of course the existence of various kinds of sea is very significant for some Indonesian people, especially in the ones who live in coastal areas. Indonesia is a country that has the longest coastline in the world, that makes many people live or inhabit coastal ecosystems. In addition to inhabiting the coast, certainly also many people work as fishermen which makes the sea also affects the economic life of Indonesians.

In addition to the state of the sea and also the coast, Indonesia’s astronomical location which is below the zero degree latitude (equator) also determines the climate and weather in Indonesia. Indonesia has a tropical climate where there are only two seasons, namely the dry and rainy seasons. The transition from these two seasons can sometimes lead to extreme weather accompanied by tidal waves in Indonesian waters. Not only the astronomical location, Indonesia’s geological location also greatly affects the state of the Indonesia sea.

Further read : 15 Effects of Ocean Waves On Shorelines

Some of them are the location of Indonesia which is in the ring of fire path, which makes a lot of active volcanoes around, as well as the presence of active plates in Indonesian territory causing many tectonic earthquakes in Indonesia. Volcanic activity and also tectonic plates sometimes cause tsunami disasters. There have been several tsunami disasters in Indonesia. Well, the two events that occurred at sea namely the tidal waves and tsunamis sometimes have similarities. But actually the two events are different. On this occasion we will discuss the differences between tidal waves and tsunamis.

Definition of Tidal Waves and Tsunamis

Before discussing the differences between tidal waves and tsunamis, we should first discuss the meaning of both. Although both have almost the same appearance, which is in the form of large waves from the ocean, the meaning of both is different. The understanding of tidal waves is a large wave that exceeds the height of the wave under normal circumstances, or it can be said that the tidal wave is a wave that exceeds the normal limit. This tidal wave can cause danger both in the ocean and on land, especially in coastal areas.

Meanwhile, the tsunami is a wave that has enormous energy. Tsunami waves are very dangerous because they can sweep up coastal areas to kilometers of radius. Tsunami waves and tidal waves are different in their strength, they also differ in their causes and also the signs. In order to know more clearly and more deeply about these two waves, we will discuss them below.

Differences of Tidal Waves and Tsunamis

From the description above we have learned the meaning of tidal waves and tsunamis. From the meanings above, it can be seen that the two have differences eventhough the appearance shown is similar. But did you know that there are many points that distinguish between tidal waves and tsunamis (read more : Waves in Ocean – Causes, Differences, and Functions). What are the differences? The differences between a tidal wave and a tsunami include the following:

1. The cause

One thing that really distinguishes between tidal waves and tsunamis is the cause. The causes of both are very different. Tidal waves occur because of extreme weather or strong winds. Usually changing seasons often bring extreme weather with strong winds and this will cause a tidal wave. At times like this, fishermen will usually take a day off from work because it can jeopardize safety if they keep working. Meanwhile on the beaches which are used as a tourism sector does not allow visitors to approach the beach.

Read more : Process of the Occurrence of Waves People Should Be Aware Of

Meanwhile, tsunami waves are usually caused by tectonic or volcanic activities that occur under the sea. For example, large-scale underwater earthquakes and / or underwater landslide activities such as volcanic eruptions due to eruption events. So from that for areas that have active volcanoes under the sea, usually will be given a warning to the community not to be around the sea / waters when mountain activities are dangerous.

2. Signs of occurrence

In addition to the causes, the difference between tsunami waves and tidal waves can also be seen from the signs of occurrence. The tidal wave is a large wave that arrives slowly and is usually preceded by strong winds in the ocean area. The arrival of the tidal wave can be predicted several hours to the previous day. While a tsunami wave is a big wave that can happen instantly. Between the cause and arrival of the tsunami waves only last a few minutes so it is more frightening. But even so, we can still predict the occurrence of tsunami waves through several signs, including the following:

  • Underwater earthquakes or underwater volcanic activity
  • Sea water suddenly receded
  • Many animals stay away from the sea area.

3. The amplitude

The amplitude of the tidal wave is approximately 10 meters, while the amplitude of the tsunami wave between several centimeters to 1 meter.

4. Wavelength

Tidal wave lengths are between 10 meters and 200 meters or 1,000 times lower than tsunamis, while tsunami wavelengths are between 100 and 200 kilometers.

5. The wave period

Tidal wave periods are between 6 to 12 seconds or 6 times lower than tsunamis, while tsunami wave periods are between 10 minutes and 20 minutes.

Now that’s some information about the difference between tidal waves and tsunamis. Hope it is useful for all of us.

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