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A tsunami is a sea wave of local or distant origin that results from large-scale seafloor displacements associated with strong earthquakes, major submarine slides, or exploding volcanic islands.

A tsunami can strike any coast at any time and we cannot predict exactly when or where they will occur. Undersea earthquakes most often cause tsunamis but submarine landslides or volcanic eruptions can also cause them. A tsunami can move as fast as a jet plane across the Open Ocean and can hit land with waves as high as 20 metres or more. The water may wash inland for several kilometres in flat lying areas, and can move up streams and rivers, destroying everything in its path. Waves may continue to strike the shoreline for many hours, and dangerous currents can continue for days following the event.