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The contact of tectonic plates do not always cause earthquakes. One plate needs to push the other plate under it. The plate underneath puts pressure on the plate on top. Then, the top plate moves fast to release the pressure. This quick movement is the earthquake. It is what can cause a tsunami.

In 2011, a huge earthquake hit Japan. This earthquake caused a tsunami. The waves hit only an hour after the earthquake. The wall of water was 120 feet high. It blew this house onto its side. Thousands of people lost their homes and their lives.

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Making Connections


Are tsunamis common where you live? Why or why not?


Have you read books about other kinds of natural disasters? How are they similar to tsunamis? How are they different?


Tsunamis bring large waves onto land. Why does going to higher ground or away from shore help people stay safe?

Teacher Resources

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