Tsunami's Effects: Man, And The Sea II

18 APRIL 2008
Tsunamis And Sea Life?

The described effects of tsunamis, as far as we have found, haven't taken into account how sea life is affected other than as a side note. With this tsunami, the effect on sea life and the associated ecosystems could well be massive.

When researching this entry, one of the most disturbing things we found was that there was very little available information regarding how sea life is affected. Without prior information, it's difficult to ascertain just how much of an impact that the tsunami will have on fishing, and subsequently, the region's economy. This is definitely an area where tsunami experts may wish to study - it's unlikely that this will be the last tsunami that humanity will encounter. The potential impact on humanity - through food and economy - gives such a study merit. As mentioned in an email in 1998 regarding underwater 'storms':

...Earthquakes can raise tsunami that act impact as huge unexpected waves when they arrive in shallow water. Unless the earthquake is near enough for animals to have sensed the vibrations and hidden, they will caught in the open by this large wave. In the 1750 Lisbon earthquake, reports record that the sea withdrew like a giant low tide, leaving fish flopping around on the seabed. People who went out to view this phenomenon, or to collect the fish, were drowned when the tsunami crashed back over the beaches...

In this particular scenario, it's easy to hypothesize that fish caught on the inside of the tsunami, had they sensed it, would have headed away from it - which would have been, in this massive bay, toward land. In doing so, they may have unwittingly become caught up in the wave. As the tsunami approaches land, it gains height even as it slows down. This would affect sea life within 1 kilometer of land, and perhaps even more depending on the depth of the tsunami in the open sea.

Deeper in the ocean, in the region of the earthquake, many things could have happened. Deformation of the sea floor is almost assured with an earthquake of this strength - but how the sea floor became deformed is open to speculation. That's really the bottom line with this tsunami - it's almost a theme - "We Do Not Know."

Because we do not know, it is time for us to start trying to find out. Maybe somewhere, there's a group of people working on this. And again, with all efforts being pointed toward saving the lives of our brothers and sisters, maybe it isn't. Yet knowing how much of an effect has been had on the sea life may well prepare the countries in the region for long term actions; while aid in the form of assistance and money rolls in, the long term effects will determine the long term assistance needed.