144. Reading Skills Comprehension: Tsunami


Read the passage and answer the following questions:-

In India, many might not have witnessed many tsunamis, but they have occurred all over the world in oceans and seas. The second half of the twentieth century experienced more than 15 devastating tsunamis but the fury of the 2004 killer tsunami has been the deadliest of all.

What is a tsunami? It is a series of large waves of extremely long wavelength and period usually generated by a violent, impulsive undersea disturbance or activity near the coast. Such turbulent disturbances may be caused by undersea earthquakes, violent volcanic eruptions, rock or icefalls, sudden submarine landslides or tsunamis, meteorite or asteroid hits and nuclear explosions. When a sudden displacement of a large volume of water occurs, or if the sea floor is suddenly raised or dropped, big tsunami waves can be formed by forces of gravity. The waves travel out of the area of origin and can be extremely dangerous and damaging when they reach the shore.

Sometimes the term, “seismic or tidal sea wave” is used to describe the same phenomenon. However, the terms can be misleading. As mentioned above, tsunami waves can be generated by other non-seismic disturbances such as volcanic eruptions or underwater landslides, and have physical characteristics different from tidal waves. Tsunami waves are completely unrelated to the astronomical tides-which are caused by the extraterrestrial, gravitational influences of the moon, sun, and the planets. Thus, the Japanese word “tsunami”, meaning “harbour wave” is the correct, official and all-inclusive term. It has been internationally adopted because it covers the impulsive wave generation.

Once a tsunami has been generated, its energy is distributed throughout the water column regardless of the ocean’s depth. A tsunami is made up of a series of very long waves which will travel outward on the surface of the ocean in all directions away from the source area.

The International Tsunami Information Centre, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been educating the public about the threat from tsunamis for the past many years. Staying away from all low-lying coastal areas is the safest advice when there is a tsunami warning. If you live on or near coast and hear that an earthquake has occurred, stand by for a tsunami emergency. A noticeable rise or fall of coastal water is nature’s tsunami warning and should be heeded. Never go down to the shore to watch for a tsunami, and never try to surf a tsunami, should there be a tsunami warning.                                                                         

(a) Describe any two factors which may cause a tsunami.                                      

(b) What is the difference between a tsunami and tidal waves?                        

(c) How does the Japanese term for tsunami correctly describe it?                    

(d) What steps should be taken in the event of a tsunami?                                  

(e) What does the word, ‘devastating’ mean? (Para 1)

(!) calamitous    (ii) comfortable

(iii) bad               (iv) lucky                                                       

 (f) What does the word, ‘competent’ mean? (Para 5)

 (i) upset          (ii) capable

(iii) cunning  (iv) ineffective                                                       

(g) Write the opposite of the word, ‘turbulent’. (Para 2)

 (i) stormy      (ii) troublesome

(iii) full           (iv) calm                                                               

 (h) Write the opposite of the word, ‘misleading’. (Para 3)

(i) famous     (ii) popular

(iii) tricky     (iv) accurate                                                             

Answers :

(a) A tsunami may be caused by undersea earthquakes or violent volcanic eruptions.

(b) Tsunami is caused by non-seismic disturbances such as volcanic eruptions or underwater landslides while tidal waves are caused by gravitational influences of sun, moon and other planets.

(c) The Japanese term for tsunami meaning, ‘harbour wave’ correctly describes it as it covers impulsive wave generation.

(d) (i) In the event of the tsunami, we should stay away from all low-lying coastal areas. (ii) We should notice the tsunami’s indications like a noticeable rise or fall of sea water.

 (e) (i) calamitous          (f) (ii) capable       (g) (iv) calm       (d) (iv) accurate

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