How an earthquake can cause a tsunami

(WWLP) – An earthquake caused some tsunami concerns along the west coast of the United States this morning.

A large earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska this morning measuring a magnitude of 7.9. The concern was mainly for this earthquake to cause the development of a tsunami which is the Japanese word for harbor-wave.

A tsunami forms when the earth underneath the ocean moves, causing the water to move. The wave spreads just like a pebble dropping in a puddle, away from where the earthquake was, possibly causing flooding along the west coast and Hawaii, although thankfully no major waves were reported there.

This quake was measured a 7.9 magnitude on the Richter magnitude scale. This is high on the scale. Anything 3.9 or less is tiny and barely felt by anyone. A 4-4.9 is a small earthquake. 5-5.9 is moderate. 6-6.9 is large. A major quake would be 7-7.9 and anything 8 or higher would be considered intense and very rare.

When an earthquake hits over water there is usually less shaking damage on land, but more of a concern for tsunami flooding damage.