When the earthquake that struck the Solomon Islands in 2013 produced tsunami waves that damaged the country’s infrastructure, it was one in a recent string of reminders of the devastating effects these ferocious waves can have. From the 2011 tsunami in Japan to the giant waves that killed people near the Indian Ocean in 2004, these destructive events can utterly overwhelm an area not just with water but economic, social, and political devastations. But as Richard Hamblyn demonstrates in this cultural, historical, and scientific engagement with these spectacular natural phenomena, tsunamis remain misunderstoodtheir triggers, from undersea earthquakes to nuclear weapons testing, have only begun to be studied scientifically in the last fifty years.
Tsunami explores how these treacherous sea-surges happen, what makes them so powerful, and what can be done to safeguard vulnerable coastlines. Hamblyn details their cultural significance in tsunami-prone places such as Japan, Hawaii, and Chile, while also considering their importance in the more seismically stable West, where their appearances are limited to popular culture and blockbuster films. From the legend of Atlantis to the present day, this book casts new light on these deadly waves.
About the Author
Richard Hamblyn is a lecturer in the Department of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of numerous books on climate change, clouds, and natural disasters, most recently, Killer Weather: Past, Present, Future.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Tsunami Stone
1. Tsunamis in History and Memory
2. The Science of Tsunamis
3. ‘The Hungry Wave’:
Tsunamis in Myth and Legend
4. Tsunamis in Literature, Art and Film
5. Living with Tsunamis:
Warning Systems and Coastal Defence
Associations and Websites