Skip to main content

Global Disaster Management: Tsunamis

This research guide is a starting point for research into the management of global disasters. It supports Pitt classes and workshops like - Building Community Resilience to Global Hazards, as well as the Hazard SEES Team members and their research.


What are Tsunamis?

Tsunamis are ocean waves triggered by large earthquakes that occur near or under the ocean, volcanic eruptions, submarine landslides, and by onshore landslides in which large volumes of debris fall into the water. Scientists do not use the term "tidal wave" because these waves are not caused by tides. Tsunami waves are unlike typical ocean waves generated by wind and storms, and most tsunamis do not "break" like the curling, wind-generated waves popular with surfers. Tsunamis typically consists of multiple waves that rush ashore like a fast-rising tide with powerful currents. Tsunami waves can travel much farther inland than normal waves. When tsunamis approach shore, the behave like a very fast moving tide that extends far inland. [From the USGS website]

South East Asia 2004

The 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean with its epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, resulted with Tsunami disaster in many Southeast Asian countries. Tsunami is a nonprofit website and organization that includes news archives, survivor stories, and images is dedicated to the victims of this tsunami.

Case Study: Northeast Japan 2011


News Coverage  and Commentary: 

U.S. Federal Agencies

Warning Centers

International Tsunami Information Centre

The International Tsunami Information Centre was created in 1965 by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

International Organizations