The Orphan Tsunami of 1700

An excerpt from an ocean energy distribution forecast map for the 2011 Sendai earthquake developed by NOAA, with different degrees of wave amplitude indicated by colors ranging from blue (small amplitude) to red (large amplitude).
An excerpt from an ocean energy distribution forecast map for the 2011 Sendai earthquake, predicting the wave amplitude of tsunamis created by the earthquake.


Overview: Students read selections from the book "The Orphan Tsunami of 1700", by Brian Atwater, about earthquake and tsunami threats detected by scientific sleuthing in mud, trees, and the writings of samurai, merchants, and peasants. As they read, students look for evidence of the scientific process, connections between science and culture, and the role of technology in science.
Grade Level:
9 - 12
Objectives: Students will be able to:
  • Explain why studying earthquakes and tsunami are important
  • Describe what and where the Cascadia subduction zone is
  • Describe the process and evidence that scientists used to determine if the Cascadia subduction zone could cause large, destructive earthquakes
  • Describe how to detect and respond in case of earthquake or tsunami
  • Describe what areas of the world may experience the direct effects of subduction zone earthquakes and tsunami
Lesson Plan:
Orphan Tsunami - word, 49KB
Orphan Tsunami - pdf, 430KB
Resources: Orphan Tsunami Map
Orphan Tsunami Graphic Organizer

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