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On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.2 megathrust earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia unleashed a powerful tsunami that hit the coasts of 14 countries and caused the loss of over 200,000 lives. The devastation that the tsunami left in its wake was heartbreaking, and people across the world united to help the survivors.
Tsunamis are a powerful force of nature that can change the features of a coastline and result in millions of dollars in economic loss, but can anything be done to mitigate the damage that a tsunami can wreak? Can manmade structures reduce the energy of incoming tsunami waves? In this ocean science project, you will model a tsunami and then come up with novel structures that can potentially reduce the effect of incoming tsunami waves. Take a look at the Science Buddies project The Science Behind Tsunamis, to get ideas on how to create a wave tank for testing. Would a sea wall, like the one shown in Figure 1, below, help? How thick and high would it have to be? Would any manmade structure in the water reduce the strength of a tsunami wave? Try to keep your structure as true-to-life as possible and keep it as cost-effective as possible. For example, engineers could build a wall around a tsunami-prone area that is 100 feet high and 100 feet thick, but that would be cost prohibitive, and people living on the coast might protest because their view of the ocean would be ruined.
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Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth's surface, and marine architects design vessels that allow humans and their cargo to cross through or under those waters safely and efficiently. Some of their watercraft designs are enormous, like merchant ships, which carry huge loads of oil, cars, food, clothing, toys, and other goods, across thousands of miles of open waters. These ships are essential for trade between countries. Other vessels are smaller and more specialized, like luxury yachts or…
If you turned on a faucet, used a bathroom, or visited a public space (like a road, a building, or a bridge) today, then you've used or visited a project that civil engineers helped to design and build. Civil engineers work to improve travel and commerce, provide people with safe drinking water and sanitation, and protect communities from earthquakes and floods. This important and ancient work is combined with a desire to make structures that are as beautiful and environmentally sound, as they…
Do you dream of building big? Civil engineering technicians help build some of the largest structures in the world—from buildings, bridges, and dams to highways, airfields, and wastewater treatment facilities. Many of these construction projects are "public works," meaning they strengthen and benefit a community, state, or the nation.
General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Science Buddies Staff.
"Taming the Tsunami: Investigating Different Structures to Reduce Tsunami Damage." Science Buddies,
23 June 2020,
Accessed 16 May 2022.
Science Buddies Staff.
(2020, June 23).
Taming the Tsunami: Investigating Different Structures to Reduce Tsunami Damage.