A Tsunami in Santa CruzOut of all the natural disasters that we talk about in class, the most deadly would have to be a Tsunami. Compared to earthquakes, Tsunamis have cause more deaths since 1945. A Tsunami is likely to strike anywhere on the west coast, including Santa Cruz in California – United States – North America – 36:58:24N 122:02:09W. A Tsunami is a giant “wave” of water that is caused by a sudden shift in the sea floor. The wave is a result of the water attempting to regain its equilibrium, which is driven by gravity. The size of the wave is determined by how much the sea floor is moved vertically, and how quickly it shifts. A greater water depth helps as well. They can travel up to five hundred miles an hour and have wave heights of one hundred feet. Earthquakes are the leading cause of Tsunamis. People who live in California are well aware of earthquakes that are frequently caused by the San Andreas Fault. However, not many are aware of the results of earthquakes that occur out in the Pacific Ocean. Tsunamis have also been referred to in the past as seismic sea waves, but Earthquakes aren’t the only cause of this phenomenon. Landslides, nuclear explosions, volcanic eruptions, and extra terrestrial impacts also have great water displacement results.What makes California such a potential area for this disaster is the seismic activity near its coastline. Since the early eighteen hundreds, fourteen Tsunamis have struck the California coastline. However, only six of these struck with a devastating force. The shallow beaches can add to the destructive force of the wave. As a Tsunami enters shallow waters, its speed dissipates and the height increases. Once the wave or waves strike, the inland region would then be faced with massive flooding problems. The flooding area is controlled by the topography of the land behind the coastline. The elevation of Santa Cruz is twenty feet above sea level, increasing the danger of this geological event. Santa Cruz has a population of about 50,000. Tsunamis have the ability to kill thousands of people in matter of minutes.Due to the unpredictability of earthquakes, Tsunamis are difficult to forecast. However, the county of San Mateo has gone to great lengths in the planning of how to respond to a Tsunami.