Why are there two or three waves in a tsunami instead of one?

22 January 2006

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Question

Why are there two or three waves in a tsunami instead of one?

Answer

It's essentially the same principle as if you get a cube of sugar and drop it in your cup of tea. It sets up a disturbance in the water surface and it doesn't reach equilibrium again immediately, so you get a lot of oscillations instead of just one. This gives you more than just one wave. They all add together.

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