Yes, the Tongan volcanic eruption, although a long way from Vanuatu, had an effect.

 

The tsunami alert went out, and places on the edges of the Pacific Ocean like Japan and California and South America had some problems when it finally reached them.

 

So what was it like here in a neighbouring country "only" 1,700+ kilometres away?

 

Interestingly, although we too had a tsunami alert, and a small wave came ashore in some very low-lying areas, we had nothing like the trouble seen in more far-flung places.

 

Why?

 

I wondered too. I had thought that waves lose power over distance, so the nearer to the source, the bigger the wave, right?

 

Nope! A bit of internet search quickly revealed my wrong thinking. A tsunami wave, caused by undersea movement like an earthquake or volcano, might be ten kilometres long, but only about 30 centimetres high.

 

It travels vast distances across the ocean like that, but when it comes to shallow water, the front part of the wave slows down, the back part catches up, and this "bunching up" causes the height to grow into the dramatic towering walls of water you see in films and news reports.

 

So the prerequisite for a high tsunami wave is a long shallow continental shelf.

 

Vanuatu does not have this configuration. The islands mostly poke up from the depths with relatively little shallow areas around them. So a low "travelling" tsunami does not "bunch up" but goes around us and keeps travelling.

 

Interesting eh?

 

Another reason to consider Vanuatu for your Plan B

 

Book a consultation and let's see how well Vanuatu fits your priorities: https∶//in.vu/cal

 

Lance (high and dry) in Vanuatu

 


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