A Tsunami Study: The Effect of Water Depth on Wave Velocity

Student: Anamitra Abi
Table: 10
Experimentation location: School
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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Fukuji, Tammy. “What Determines How Destructive a Tsunami Will Be near the Origin and at a Distant Shore? .” International Tsunami Information Center, International Tsunami Information Center, http://itic.ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1206%3Awhat-determines-how-destructive-a-tsunami-will-be-near-the-origin-and-at-a-distant-shore&catid=1340&Itemid=2051#:~:text=As%20the%20tsunami%20waves%20become,thus%20increasing%20their%20heights%20considerably.



“Tsunami Facts and Information.” Environment, National Geographic, 4 May 2021, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/tsunamis.



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Project files

Research Plan:

Before starting my experiment, I had to take several steps to create an idea for my experiment and to research my desired topic. This took a couple of weeks to compile a good variety of (reliable) sources that connected directly with my topic. I found 2 sources that I found to be dependable, accurate, and connected to my experiment. As my experiment doesn't involve any hazardous materials the only safety precaution I need to take is to ensure that the glass tank doesn't break. Thankfully, this experiment also needs a limited amount of materials which include 1 wave tank or a large 41 qt tank, a source of water close to the tank, 1 metric ruler, 1 marker, Food dye, or another material to tint the water so it is more visible a lamp; preferably a bright ceiling or grow light under which the tank can be positioned, 1 volunteer to be a lab assistant, a 5 or 6 oz material for water displacement, 1 hand towel for cleaning, and finally, a lab notebook or computer to record data.


Questions and Answers

1. What was the major objective of your project and what was your plan to achieve it? 

The main objective of this project was to try to understand the phenomenon of tsunamis and try to create better safety measures to ensure that the death toll for tsunamis significantly lowers.

       a. Was that goal the result of any specific situation, experience, or problem you encountered?  

The goal of this project was to understand how water depth effected the water velocity of a wave. The reason I wanted to work on this project is because as climate change continues, scientists are predicting an increase on tsunamis globally. I hope this project can provide some insight on tsunami evacuation plans and other safety measures. 

       b. Were you trying to solve a problem, answer a question, or test a hypothesis?

For this specific experiment I was trying to do all of the above. Earlier in this school year I learned about tsunami impacts through a friend and got very interested in this deadly, natural phenomenon. In addition, I learned that the main reason tsunamis have such high death rates is because the warning and safety measures are not fully able to predict how big a wave will be and what the the impact will be like when it gets to shore.


2. What were the major tasks you had to perform in order to complete your project?

The major tasks for this project were mainly the research and the actual execution of the project. These were both time consuming phases of the experiment but they both yielded great results.

       a. For teams, describe what each member worked on.

While I did not have a team member, I had a lab assistant. Her main task was to keep me honest and help with the stopwatch and some of the math as it would have been quite a bit for one person. I am incredibly grateful for her help and I don't think this experiment would have been as fulfilling without her help

3. What is new or novel about your project?

       a. Is there some aspect of your project's objective, or how you achieved it that you haven't done before?

Through my extensive research, I have not found many lab articles published by scientists on this subject and I took a new approach. while most of the other studies create graphs based on past tsunamis my experiment creates a small-scale version that can be eventually translated to a macro view.

       b. Is your project's objective, or the way you implemented it, different from anything you have seen?

I think that the objective of this project stands out in a novel fashion because it aims to redefine security measures and make tsunami-prone places safer. This is in contrast to many academic studies as academic studies aim to understand the velocity and the way the magnitude of the earthquake affects the size of the tsunami. 

       c. If you believe your work to be unique in some way, what research have you done to confirm that it is?

As stated before, I have done extensive research on this topic in order to find similar projects and was unable to find project like this that aim for the same goal.


4. What was the most challenging part of completing your project?

The most challenging part of this project was the actual experimentation as it took two days and was quite tedious to complete. I think that eve though it was tedious it was very rewarding. 

      a. What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?

I often found that I dropped the displacement material wrong and it would create a different kind of wave so I would have to go back and correct that in order to keep my results valid.

      b. What did you learn from overcoming these problems?

I learned that recording yourself and going back later and watching the playback can keep you honest about your results. I also learned that sometimes it is helpful to have a second pair of (human) eyes as they can help you catch mistakes or discrepancies.


5. If you were going to do this project again, are there any things you would you do differently the next time?

If I were to redo this project I would pick a block of wood as my displacement material and ensure that I tint the water to the same hue so that the color remains relatively static as that was a difficulty I ran into. If the color was too dark you couldn't see the waves  but if it was too light then there was no point to tinting the water. 

6. Did working on this project give you any ideas for other projects? 

Yes. I would like to work in more area to understand other natural disasters and ways to help aid.

7. How did COVID-19 affect the completion of your project?

COVID-19 didn't affect my experiment very much as I had not human participants.