The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was caused by an earthquake on the seabed that released a titanic amount of energy, but an important interpretation of that release is in the amount of work it performed, that is, how much movement that energy generated in the matter around it (the Indian Ocean)
. Estimates put the total work done to be close to 4.0x1022
Joules, equivalent to the work done by 9.5 gigatons of TNT or 550 million
times the work done by the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The resulting devastation was cataclysmic, and need not be further elaborated here.
Water, in large amounts and at anything above a modest velocity, is very dangerous stuff. Storm surges and flash floods claim hundreds of lives and cause millions of dollars in damage every year, while major disasters such as dam collapses and tidal waves can cause widespread destruction.
So when the character steps out of his house and sees a two-hundred foot high wall of the stuff stretching on into the horizon moving at a deceptively patient pace towards him, it usually results in an intense Oh, Crap
Inversion of Soft Water
(or an aversion, as even being buried by an avalanche of fluffy pillows would likely be quite lethal if there were a few million tons of them moving at seventy miles an hour). A very literal way to Kill It with Water
. Can occur when a character who makes a splash
really pushes themselves to the limit.
Anime & Manga
- In One Piece, the annual giant wave hits the city of Water 7 . Later in the series, Whitebeard uses his quake-quake fruit power to create an instant tsunami.
- Happens in Saikano.
- A Perfect Storm
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?, with The sheriff's eventual demise.
- Jackass, where Johnny Knoxville (with diving mask, snorkel, and flippers) stands in front of a massive water tank perched in front of a ramp. The camera looks up at him from below, and over the course of three seconds he's standing there, water rushes over the camera, and when it clears he's completely vanished.
- The Abyss. Scenes near the end of where the undersea creatures create gigantic walls of water near major coastal cities as a warning to humans to stop warfare.
- The Guns of Navarone. The protagonists crash their ship into the coast of Navarone in a storm. As they're trying to unload it, they see a huge wall of water approaching. They desperately try to get away before it hits.
- In Deep Impact, this provides an Obi Wan Moment for several main characters.
- What, no one saw The Day After Tomorrow or 2012?
- Wrath Of The Ocean
- Happens in Chrono Trigger, as a result of a floating chain of islands crashing into the sea. Results are about as catastrophic as you'd think.
- Isn't there a Wall of Water card in Magic: The Gathering?
- Early Dungeons & Dragons:
- Oriental Adventures had the shukenja and wu jen "Tsunami" spells, which caused a tidal wave at least 180 feet high.
- The Forgotten Realms had the Tidal Wave spell, which was 75 feet high.
- The New Year Wave incident.
- In Alaska, a piece of a mountain fell into a lake, and it is estimated that the resulting splash was nearly 1/2 mile (800m) high.
- The only tsunami to kill people in Canada occurred in 1929, off the coast of Newfoundland. An earthquake in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge created a wave of water that swept houses completely off the land. The locals called it the "great big sea;" a local band named themselves af