Every year that passes without a tsunami means that we're just that much closer to our next one. What can we do to ensure we're prepared when the next catastrophic tsunami strikes?
The ferocious waves of a tsunami can travel across oceans at the speed of a jet airplane. They can kill families, destroy entire cultures, and even gut nations. To understand these beasts in our waters well enough to survive them, we must understand how they're created and learn from the past.
In this book, tsunami specialists James Goff and Walter Dudley arm readers with everything they need to survive a tsunami – and maybe even avoid the next one. Tsunami: The World's Greatest Waves takes readers on a historical journey through some of the most devastating tsunamis in human history, some of the quirky ones, and even some that may not even be what most of us think of as tsunamis. Diving into personal and scientific stories of disasters,Tsunami pulls readers into the many ways these waves can be generated, ranging from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to explosions, landslides, and beyond. The book provides overviews of some of the great historical events – the 1755 Lisbon, 1946 Aleutian, 1960 Chile, and 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis, but also some of the less well-known as well such as the 1958 Lituya Bay, 563 CE Lake Geneva, a 6,000 year old Papua New Guinean mystery, and even a 2.5 Million year old asteroid. This is not straight science, though. Each event is brought to life in a variety of ways through stories of survival, human folly, and echoes of past disasters etched in oral traditions and the environment. The book combines research from oceanography, biogeography, geology, history, archaeology and more, with data collected from over 400 survivor interviews. Alongside carefully selected images and the scientific measurements of these tsunamis, the book offers tales of survival, heroism, and tragic loss.
Through a balanced combination of personal experience, the Earth's changing environment, tales of tragedy, and a recount of oral traditions, Tsunami allows readers to engage with a new scientific approach to these overwhelming waves. The resulting book unveils the science of disaster like never before.
Chapter 1: The Case of the Disappearing Lighthouse
Chapter 2: How Weird Squiggles led from Sheaves of Rice to the Depth of the Seas
Chapter 3: Voices From the Past
Chapter 4: The World's Oldest Tsunami Victim at the Gateway to the Pacific—and Beyond
Chapter 5: The Monster of Lituya Bay
Chapter 6: The Perils of Freshwater Tsunamis
Chapter 7: Tsunamis and the US Navy
Chapter 8: 1964, Alaska: Tsunami
Chapter 9: Strange, but True
Chapter 10: Megasharknado
Chapter 11: Saved by the Baguette
Chapter 12: 1755, Lisbon: The Benefit of Brothels
Chapter 13: Storegga: No Referendum for this Brexit
Chapter 14: 1960, Chile: Did the Earth Move for You?
Chapter 15: Boxing Day: The World's Worst Disaster of the 21st Century
James Goff is Honorary Professor of Tsunami Research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. Until 2016, he was Deputy Director of the PANGEA (Paleontology, Geobiology, and Earth Archives) Research Centre and Director of the Australia-Pacific Tsunami Research Centre at UNSW. He has co-edited three books and written over 250 peer-reviewed publications, including an online tsunami database for New Zealand. He has appeared in numerous documentaries, including those of Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
Walter Dudley is Professor Emeritus of Marine Geology and Oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He previously served as Chair of the Marine Science Department and Director of the Kalakaua Marine Education Center for the University, and he served as a Professor of Marine Geology and Oceanography for over 30 years. In 1994, he and tsunami survivor, Jeanne Johnston, founded the Pacific Tsunami Museum, where he currently serves as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council. He has written six books about tsunamis, published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, and appeared in over 30 television documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Travel Channel, Disney, and Weather Channel.
"James Goff and Walter Dudley take us on a journey across the seven seas and the five continents to remind us of the destructive forces of nature. Using oral traditions, historical records, and scientific data, the authors manage to convey in a familiar narrative the results of their amazing professional career. Tsunami will be of great importance for students and researchers in Earth sciences, anthropology and archaeology, and should be a must-read for government officials associated with natural disaster prevention offices. Those of us who live in coastal areas should not be constantly terrified of them, but we must know their effects and be prepared since, as the authors mention: Sooner or later, they will happen again."
– Pedro Andrade, Universidad de Concepción
"This is an original, authoritative, and highly readable account of tsunamis around the world, balancing clear and accessible explanations of tsunami science with personal accounts and meticulously researched historical detail. Based on their decades of research experience the authors take the reader on an historical journey through tsunamis and their impacts both on individuals and on entire societies, clearly highlighting that, in the words of their final quote, 'Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
– Andy Cundy, University of Southampton
"Goff and Dudley's Tsunami is immensely compelling. Drawing upon many branches of science, from history to geology and archaeology to oceanography, the authors present fascinating insights into this misunderstood and under-appreciated nemesis for coastal dwellers everywhere. Planet-tipping earthquakes, cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, plunging asteroids, colossal landslides, boiling geysers, the demise of dinosaurs and megalodons, ancestral migrations, conflict and warfare, fake news, the 'first Brexit', and captivating legends of water monsters echoing down to us from primeval times: all are featured herein. Science? Absolutely. But pull up your armchair anyway, because Tsunami is gripping stuff."
– James Terry, Zayed University