How do tsunamis affect the atmosphere?  

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tsunamis are waves that are generated due to undersea earthquakes and can travel at very high speeds. Tsunamis cause extreme damage and result in heavy destruction at the lithosphere. Tsunamis also cause disturbance in the atmosphere. The waves generated by the earthquake and resulting tsunamis can cause ripples in the ionosphere, depending on their intensity. These ripples are caused by the acoustic and Rayleigh waves created by the earthquake and the gravity waves caused by the tsunami. Among these waves, gravity waves are slower, as was observed during the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The earthquake and the resulting tsunami was strong enough to cause disturbances in the electron distribution in the ionosphere, a layer of our atmosphere about 85 km above Earth's surface.  

Thus, the tsunami affects not only the lithosphere, but the atmosphere as well.

Hope this helps. 

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