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Modeling the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami for Introductory Physics Students
Physics Teacher (2006)
  • Gregory A. DiLisi, John Carroll University
  • Richard A. Rarick
A classroom exercise to model tsunamis is described. The simulations illustrate 3 dramatic signature features of tsunamis: the increase in amplitude as the tsunami moves to shallower water, the corresponding decrease in wavelength and speed, and the increasing steepness of the leading edge. These characteristics typically classify tsunamis as shallow-water waves, which can be confusing to students as they are generated and travel mostly in deep water. The highlight of the activity is the construction of a tsunami tank comprising a wooden frame and clear acrylic sides, which can be used to generate simulated tsunamis that illustrate these properties.
Publication Date
December, 2006
Citation Information
Gregory A. DiLisi and Richard A. Rarick. "Modeling the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami for Introductory Physics Students" Physics Teacher Vol. 44 Iss. 9 (2006)
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