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Tsunami Video

After watching a bunch of the tsunami videos, a few thoughts occur to me.

  • The wave was not nearly as tall as I thought it'd be. I mean, Hawaii and Australia get waves like this for surf competitions, don't they? It looked to be 15 feet tall or so. The pictures I had in my head had 100-foot tall waves.
  • It's amazing how many people were just walking around on the beach going "look at that big one coming in."
  • Every video almost looked like it was shot in the same location. Pristine little beaches, palm trees, nice little restaurants and hotels.
  • Why are they all in Windows Media Player? 😛

Some people are feeling the crunch in terms of bandwidth and now need donations of their own. I didn't see the video from this guy, but I kicked $50 to him and $200 to the Red Cross today.

18 Responses to "Tsunami Video"

  1. The wave was not nearly as tall as I thought it'd be.

    thought of it that way after reading reports of waves that were X number of storeys high. but the scary difference was that the power of the waves which seems to just go on and on instead of just crashing and dissipating like those we usually see with surf boards flying.

  2. Every video almost looked like it was shot in the same location. Pristine little beaches, palm trees, nice little restaurants and hotels.

    Well, you have to remember that a lot of the video was shot at tourist resorts, where families would logically have cameras readily available.

  3. It is true the waves where not tall at all but the speed of the waves was so much that they did not stop at the beach but went over it destroying everything in its way!!!

  4. Tsunami videos a big hit on the web

    This , this morning from the Wall Street Journal.

  5. i live in gloucester UK and we regularly get a tidal wave on the local river severn - eerily like the tsunami, it just keeps coming and coming and coming. but it is predictable and people don't get hurt. This tsunami in Indian Ocean just defies assimilation. mind is boggled and numbed at the sheer loss of life in one 15 minute span of time.

  6. The height of the waves was much higher in Sumatra - I just saw one report which said in some areas it cleared the top of trees at 80ft. . Another reported waves returning to the sea after hitting the hillsides which measured 40 metres (130ft). The video shown from Banda Archa shows fast moving water up to second storey of the buldings which were left.

  7. The waves that weren't high did seem to just keep coming and coming and coming. Almost as if the water level simply went up two stories behind the actual "wave." Buildings didn't get smacked with a wave - they became submerged over a period of two to five minutes as the water simply kept coming.

  8. The big problem with the tsunami wasn't that it was tall (in many places it wasn't) but that the back side of the wave was a long way out from the front side of the wave .. so once the wave hit, the water level stayed very high for a very long time. The volume of water (and the amount of force it exerted on objects) was enormous.

    Common expectation of what a Tsunami should look like:


    / / `

    / | _______

    / | | |

    / \ | HOTEL |

    / \ ___|_______|_____

    / \ /


    This tsunami:


    ________________ | |

    / \ | HOTEL |

    / \ ___|_______|_____

    / \ /


    (I hope my lame ascii art works)

  9. Think of it a little more like a train. Yes the engin can be quite spectacular as it hits something, but a train wreck is more about the rest of the cars. Also, remember when you watch most of these videos that the first hit has already taken place. The first wave will experience a great deal of absorbtion from the shallow approach and tsince the approch of the wave will draw down sea level. But, once that first wave hits and the beach is under water, the rest of the train is greased up for an impresive onslaught. Any time you see 10 feet of water moving up hill at 10-20 is not a small. Lastly, goto the beach an take pictures of waves crashing. No go for a swim. Waves are stepped, so 2d formats do not give a good impression. Look for units to measure by just before something gets hit and you will see that some of these images captured 30 waves after they crested an started their whit water torrents. This alteration might give you a better image of what you see in those videos. A lot of them start with people saying "Another one is coming!"

    _/\__/\___ _______

    __/\_/\__/ \__ | |

    / \_ | HOTEL |

    / \_ _|_______|_____

    /_____________________________| /

    Current Sea Level \_/\/\_/

    Draw Down

  10. I tend to agree that the Tsunami videos we see in the news show smaller waves but I figure that all those close enough to video the really big waves probably also got caught and died in those waves. The real tell is the one video where the people are in a house and you hear children wailing and when the camera points outside it looks as if their neighborhood is in the middle of the ocean which the wave caused and they are on the 2nd floor looking down at black watery waves washing by.

  11. So, who's taping CNN and ripping it to vid?


  12. Remember that tsunami is no danger at sea. This is because it is not especially high, ie talking physics, its amplitude is not that much bigger than usual waves. What makes it bad is wavelength - I guess it might be hundreds of meters or even more. Therefore the actual amount of water moving is huge. In a contact with sea bottom near the shore it will slow down, which means it becomes shorter, higher and starts breaking. Because its so long its got the effect like the sealevel had just risen for, say 4-5 meters or even more, which is what you actually see in most videos. Tim's comment is right, but it applies to every tsunami in the world.

  13. All very true. In any discussion of this nature it would be useful to know the position of the tide before the tsunami sucked the tide out. Going by UK tides (which are some of the largest in the world), sea level can drop by up to 12m on a low tide. If the tide was low it would be useful to add the 30ft on the beach to the 10ft raging up the high St. Secondly, as a general rule, a three ft wave breaks in 6ft of water, 5ft in 10ft etc. If the swell broke in the manner of a traditional wave it would have been way out to sea for a depth of 80ft.

  14. i fell upset about what habend to thialand

  15. Don't quote me on this, but I believe the physics behind a tsunami and a regular wave are far far different.

    A tsunami is a large displacement of water, as in, you have just elevated the sea-floor in a location by 15 feet in a short period of time. That HUGE section of ocean needs to go somewhere, and it travels as a huge mass of water. The water itself carries momentum, and as it approaches shore it builds up on top of itself forming large waves.

    The difference is like the train crash analogy used above. The waves might not look that big, but there are still 100 train cars worth of waves behind it that keep piling up. They continue to push each other farther and farther inland, and the sea level rises higher and higher until eventually its more akin to a powerful river than a wave.

  16. I know waves well, as a surfer for 15 years. Only in areas of shoreline, where the water drops off very deep like a cliff, will you see very big waves.

    The reason the waves did not look big, but seemed to just keep surging on and on and on goes like this. Large high waves, need deep water. Near resorts, the water is shallow. From nothing at the beach, to only 5 metres or so deep hundreds of metres off the shore. For a 15 metre wave to exist, standing straight up and coming into shore, it needs to be in at least 20-25 metres of deep water.

    So when the wave has come in to these coastal resorts, the wave has already biult up, and broken and crashed and become a wall of whitewater. But all of the power is still behind it, as a mass of moving water.

    It is easy to understand if you go down to a local surf beach. Out the back where the water is deep, the water is blue and deep and the waves are a metre or more high, not yet crashed. When they crash, they curl over and become white water, and the hieght diminishes, but most of the power is still there, as the wave comes ashore, it becomes a small "shelf" of white water, with a mass of water behind it, flowing in, untill it dissapates into nothing. Then that mass of water slowly drains back out.

    Its a very similar, but much more massive representation of this happening, on the shores of indonesia.

  17. i think its really sad about what happend . all i can think in my head was omg what are they going to do . and what about the kids . if that happend there it can happen anywhere. i was looking at MTV the other day and they were talking about it and there was this one lil kid that looked sad cuz he lost everything his mom and his dad , house ect.......... and that is what hurts me the most cuz i dont think no kid sould go tough that .

  18. Well this is just one of many disasters that have killed like this... There was a flood in china that killed over 4 million people... Just remember to forgive each other and Know the Lord... Because you can find hope in that... I was in the Philippines when this happend and I got to tell you I couldnt stop thinking about it when I was on the beach and scubadiving... Massive power, massive distruction, massive heart ach, massive support. Goes to show you how much humans do love each other, and feel for each other... Just say a quick prayer for all who are lost and need help... Corbie