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Lidiya
12-15-2012, 06:36 PM
In my WIP, a tsunami is supposed to destroy my MC's family's home. The books starts off as they're on the beach. I plan to have the tsunami appear then. Would that be realistic? To have a huge house-crushing tsunami suddenly gain strength on a somewhat windy day? Or would it take days?

What would the signs be? Besides wind.

Oh, and my characters live in England somewhere. I haven't read about any tsunamis around that area, so would it be a problem to have it set there?

Thanks :)

King Neptune
12-15-2012, 07:11 PM
From what I have read, the only sign is when the water recedes a long, long way. People have been known to walk on the dry seabed and collect things and thus be caught far from the shore when a hugh wave looms into view.

jclarkdawe
12-15-2012, 07:47 PM
Take a look at Tsunami (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FTsunami&ei=0pXMULu7K--x0QHrsIGYAQ&usg=AFQjCNFyPA93Ul4QP1cFzJt70we963Tbcg&bvm=bv.1355325884,d.dmQ)


In my WIP, a tsunami is supposed to destroy my MC's family's home. The books starts off as they're on the beach. I plan to have the tsunami appear then. Would that be realistic? Tsunami's appear suddenly. Tsunami warning systems are based upon seismograph reports, leading to a prediction that there might be a tsunami. To have a huge house-crushing tsunami suddenly gain strength on a somewhat windy day? Wind is immaterial to tsunamis. Hurricane related tidal rises are from an entirely different cause and provide significant warning of their arrival. Or would it take days? It depends upon how far away is the earthquake or landslide. But a tsunami takes place in hours, not days.

What would the signs be? Besides wind. The only sign, that doesn't always occur, is drawback or the water retreating along the shore. The water will go out significantly further and faster then the tide would normally.

Oh, and my characters live in England somewhere. I haven't read about any tsunamis around that area, so would it be a problem to have it set there? That's because the Atlantic is not high on the earthquake probability list. However, there is the always the possibility of a significant earthquake or underwater landslide anywhere in the world.

Thanks :)

Read the wikipedia article. It does a good job of explaining the dynamics.

Many writers that have used tsunamis or tidal waves have overdrawn them, not understanding the dynamics involved here. Let's say you have a house situated on the beach, five feet from the mean high tide mark. House is two stories, with a peaked roof, rising approximately 25 to 30 feet. For the tsunami to go over the house would require a wave of at least 30 feet, and probably closer to 40.

Yes, it happens, but very rarely. But a tsunami of a mere 20 feet in height is bad enough. (And the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 was recorded at thirty feet.) Water weighs eight pounds per gallon (ocean water a bit more). A million gallons of water weighs eight million pounds, or four thousand tons. Imagine a house being hit by 2,000 cars and how much damage it would receive. And a tsunami involves a lot more then a million gallons of water.

There are a lot of videos on the internet showing tsunamis hitting. Watch them.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

WriteKnight
12-15-2012, 07:47 PM
First you must determine what caused it. Usually, it's an earthquake. Is there a major fault line that will shift in the proper direction, likely to cause one. If you want it sudden, then the fault line must be nearby - like the one in Japan. Tsunamis can travel - and DO travel all the way across oceans. But there is hours of warning in a long travel situation.

As stated, often the first indication - is the tide drawing out - exceptionally low.

Aside from earthquakes - large - VERY LARGE landslides can cause tsunamis. But in that case, you're looking at enclosed bodies of water - like Fiords.

HUGE METEORS - can also cause tusnamis. Frankly - if you're talking about the English coastline - Likely the North Sea or the Atlantic - the only way I'm going to believe folks are it by a large house crushing tsunami - is with a catastrophic astral body impact.

And that's a whole different set of problems.

Good luck

Lidiya
12-15-2012, 08:14 PM
Thanks to everyone from the replies.

Maybe I should have some other cataclysm then, since the tsunami is there to get them out of their country and home and to another one.

mirandashell
12-15-2012, 08:20 PM
The most devestating thing we have here is a flood. They cause immense damage in some areas. Rivers can often burst their banks. And cause landslides which destroy houses. So if you want a disaster in England, think rain. Lots and lots of rain.

Lidiya
12-15-2012, 08:24 PM
The most devestating thing we have here is a flood. They cause immense damage in some areas. Rivers can often burst their banks. And cause landslides which destroy houses. So if you want a disaster in England, think rain. Lots and lots of rain.

Hmm, could use rain. But it's so...boring describing a rainy day as opposed to a dangerous beach scene :/

mirandashell
12-15-2012, 08:31 PM
Boring? Have you ever seen a river break its bank and flood through a city? Taking cars, houses, trees, bridges...... Obviously not.

Besides, you are a writer. It's your job to make it interesting.

Kitti
12-15-2012, 08:51 PM
But it's so...boring describing a rainy day as opposed to a dangerous beach scene :/

There are a couple of hurricanes that have hit the coast of England; something like that might be a nice middle road between rain and tsunami. Check out the storm of 1987 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Storm_of_1987) or the storm of 1703 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Storm_of_1703), for example.

Friendly Frog
12-15-2012, 10:06 PM
Hmm, could use rain. But it's so...boring describing a rainy day as opposed to a dangerous beach scene :/
Floods, boring? They're downright scary, if you ask me.

And much would depend on where the family is when the flood comes. There's a lot you can do with that.

King Neptune
12-15-2012, 10:55 PM
Thanks to everyone from the replies.

Maybe I should have some other cataclysm then, since the tsunami is there to get them out of their country and home and to another one.

There are predictions of a huge tsunami to be in the Atlantic that will be caused by part of one of the Canary Islands sliding into the ocean.

This is a sensationalist prediction; it was the first result on google.
http://rense.com/general56/tsu.htm

There are 750,000 results:
https://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_nf=3&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&gs_mss=trunami%20c&tok=Cs3gkjuojQqJbLvHDi-Uxw&cp=11&gs_id=h5&xhr=t&q=tsunami+canary+islands&pf=p&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&oq=trunami+can&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1355325884,d.dmQ&fp=8e499c5e58823560&bpcl=39967673&biw=1074&bih=738

mirandashell
12-15-2012, 10:59 PM
But that will hit the Americas, not Europe

benbenberi
12-16-2012, 12:24 AM
If it's a big enough tsunami, some of it would probably hit Europe too. And then there's the backslosh, which could still be big enough to do some damage. (A wave doesn't disappear just because it hits one side of the bathtub.)

mirandashell
12-16-2012, 12:25 AM
It would have to be a fucking huge wave to cross the Atlantic twice!

King Neptune
12-16-2012, 12:33 AM
But that will hit the Americas, not Europe

If it wil happen, then it probably will devastate all of the shores of the Atlantic.

But there is disagreement about it.
http://www.lapalma-tsunami.com/

King Neptune
12-16-2012, 12:35 AM
It would have to be a fucking huge wave to cross the Atlantic twice!

That's exactly what the prediction is for. Read some of the descriptions of the predicted event, and you will understand.

I have seen things recently that suggest that there won't be as large a tsunami as predicted, but there's only one way to know for sure.

And read the other side:
http://www.lapalma-tsunami.com/

blacbird
12-16-2012, 12:52 AM
There are a lot of videos on the internet showing tsunamis hitting. Watch them.



This. NOVA has produced excellent and vivid documentaries on the 2004 Indian Ocean event and the 2011 Japan event:

The Wave that Shook the World
Japan's Killer Quake

Both very worth watching.

caw

Dave Hardy
12-16-2012, 03:12 AM
Y'know, if the plot point is simply a way to get the family into another house, isn't a tsunami overkill? I think mass destruction from an unprecedented geological event might overshadow any subsequent domestic drama. How about a fire?

eyeblink
12-16-2012, 03:23 AM
There is some evidence that a tsunami caused the Bristol Channel floods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Channel_floods,_1607) of 1607.

thothguard51
12-16-2012, 03:28 AM
Does England ever experience Tornados?

Mr Flibble
12-16-2012, 03:33 AM
Rarely - they do happen but tend to be very small and localised.Injuries and local damage, that's usually it.

Rain/floods is probably your best bet. We have lots of rain...and the flood can cause a lot of chaos/damage (and are more dangerous than the infrequent tornados, because they are more likely).

amergina
12-16-2012, 03:40 AM
Tornadoes can happen anywhere (except perhaps Antarctica... there have been no reports of them there.)

They're just far far more common in the US because of the geographical features and the seasonal weather conditions.

ClareGreen
12-16-2012, 03:44 AM
We had a lot of flooding this summer - there should still be news clips available about it. Tornadoes are, as Mr. Flibble says, rare. I don't remember any on the news before about twenty years ago, but now we get just a few per year touch down across the country. Very few of us know what a green tinge to the clouds means, or the other danger signs there are before a funnel actually forms.

What we do get is coastal erosion. Every now and again several yards of clifftop land become cliffbottom land, and there are houses that were a street away from the cliff when built that are now right by the edge. Again, there'll be news clips about it - that may be more useful to you if you want a localised, minor seaside disaster that devastates a family.

blacbird
12-16-2012, 04:50 AM
But that will hit the Americas, not Europe

A Canary Island event of this kind would cause significant tsunami problems for Portugal, northwestern Spain and most definitely the south coast of Britain. It might well extend in important reach up the English channel, affecting Brittany and Normandy, in particular.

The biggest problems, however, would indeed be along the U.S. Atlantic coast, given the low-lying landscape all the way from Florida to Massachusetts, the heavy population and massive infrastructural development, and the complete exposure to such a wave. Cities like Miami and New York are immensely vulnerable.

caw

Lidiya
12-16-2012, 01:53 PM
All your answers were helpful, so now I have a few ideas, thanks!

But I think I should explain more. Due to some sort of disaster destroying the MC's and a few other people's (maybe about 10-15?) houses, they're moved to a newly discovered island. The government tells them it's because they can't afford to build them new houses. When they get there, they realise that they weren't the only ones moved. People from different countries devastated by other disasters were, too. Later on the MC finds out that it's because the government wanted to make a sort of 'mini-world'. So basically they were just an experiment.

I don't know, it sounds sketchy. But I'm going to use the thing that forced them to move to give the MC a few phobias and stuff.


Y'know, if the plot point is simply a way to get the family into another house, isn't a tsunami overkill? I think mass destruction from an unprecedented geological event might overshadow any subsequent domestic drama. How about a fire?

Ooo, that sounds interesting.

Friendly Frog
12-16-2012, 05:30 PM
If it was all a government ploy, wouldn't it make more sense for the disaster to be something the government could create to dislocate people? (tsunamis aren't controllable.) Like a fire, gas explosion or even a burst water main that distabilised the ground and rendered the houses unstable and unsafe for living?

Lidiya
12-16-2012, 07:26 PM
If it was all a government ploy, wouldn't it make more sense for the disaster to be something the government could create to dislocate people? (tsunamis aren't controllable.) Like a fire, gas explosion or even a burst water main that distabilised the ground and rendered the houses unstable and unsafe for living?

Yup, that's why I'm now thinking I should make it a fire :)

mirandashell
12-16-2012, 10:01 PM
Considering that the vast majority of the south coast of Britain is formed of cliffs, how much damage could there be? We're not talking flatlands here.

And from where the Canaries are, wouldn't most of the wave go past us and hit Ireland?

mirandashell
12-16-2012, 10:02 PM
And depending on which side of which island falls off, it could be Northern Africa that gets washed

King Neptune
12-16-2012, 10:45 PM
If you want to destroy a dozen, or sop, houses that asre on the coast, then I think that coastal erosion would work for you. The tsunami could cause the erosion, but there jhas been coastal erosion in the British Isles, since they became islands, and major areas have been lost in the past.

mirandashell
12-17-2012, 12:01 AM
Yep, we lose a lot of land to coastal erosion. And some of it happens quite suddenly.

waylander
12-17-2012, 02:24 PM
Where in England does your MC live?
There have been a number of recent examples of whole streets having to be evacuated because of old mine workings suddenly causing subsidence.

Lidiya
12-17-2012, 02:40 PM
Where in England does your MC live?
There have been a number of recent examples of whole streets having to be evacuated because of old mine workings suddenly causing subsidence.

Surrey, maybe. Around the London region.

waylander
12-17-2012, 03:58 PM
Not too much mining in Surrey - which is where I live - flooding looks like a good possibility. Or maybe the new housing estate they live on could be found to be on contaminated land that was not properly cleared. Some brownfield site, former gasworks or ex-MOD land maybe, which is still toxic.

ClareGreen
12-17-2012, 05:37 PM
I think Waylander might be onto something with the contaminated land idea, especially in the south-east near London. Another thought - what about an unexploded bomb?

Unexploded bombs from WWII still turn up every now and again; standard procedure is to evacuate the immediate area and then let the bomb disposal crew get to work. All you need to do is make sure your bomb disposal crew are the government's, rather than the army's...

No-one would be shocked, no-one would get leery, it might get two minutes on the news - but if something goes wrong, that's a chunk of housing levelled and no-one any the wiser.

Lidiya
12-18-2012, 01:54 PM
I think Waylander might be onto something with the contaminated land idea, especially in the south-east near London. Another thought - what about an unexploded bomb?

Unexploded bombs from WWII still turn up every now and again; standard procedure is to evacuate the immediate area and then let the bomb disposal crew get to work. All you need to do is make sure your bomb disposal crew are the government's, rather than the army's...

No-one would be shocked, no-one would get leery, it might get two minutes on the news - but if something goes wrong, that's a chunk of housing levelled and no-one any the wiser.

That sounds very interesting too...I would like something (here is where my sadistic tendencies come in) horrible to happen to the MC and her family, so I can place a few phobias in her and make it more interesting.