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Do any of the great lakes have enough water for a tidal wave?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by bug, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. bug


    Feb 6, 2007
    Just sitting here watching coverage of the poor Japanese, and wondered about this.

    Is there enough water in any of the great lakes to generate a tidal wave like what we have all seen on the news in japan.

    I live about 35 mile or so south of Lake Erie If a 8.9 quake happened in the middle or on the Canadian side of the lake would there be a resulting "tidal wave"?

    Now just so all the folks know, I understand that if a quake that size happened in Ohio a wave is the least of our worries since we are absolutely unprepared for such a thing!

    Nor am i worried about it

    I am simply curious, and I am always impressed with the amount of Knowledgeable people on here so I bet some one might KNOW.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  2. cruisermedic


    Oct 25, 2010
    I would think so. If we had the right size earthquake in the right place. Lake Michigan has a lot of water in it.

  3. geofri

    geofri Poikilotherm™ Lifetime Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Below sea level.
    From the very little I took in from my environmental geology class I would say doubtful..:dunno:

    Tagged to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about. I sure don't.
  4. I know our little Lake Okeechobee killed quite a few people when it suddenly lept out of its bowl a number of years ago during a hurricane. They have since built a wall.
  5. I am no expert or even well informed or for that matter informed at all but I would have to venture a guess 'YES'.
  6. Vic777


    Jan 23, 2006
    The shoreline is also part of the equation for a large tsunami, must be long gradual rise, no tsunami "effect" around cliffs.
  7. bug


    Feb 6, 2007
    so maybe because the ocean is deep and the lakes not so much it would not have rise and run to get enough force?

    Interesting point
  8. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    I don't think ther would be, there has to be a swapping of water mass to some degree toward the affected area and away from the unaffected area I would strongly assume and I'm not sure a great lake has the water mass to allow a huge surge... I think there would be some waves to see that would never be forgotten, but I don't think there would be a surge that could submerge a town...

    Disclaimer: I've been wrong about all kinds of $chi+, so I may be again as a matter of statistics...
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  9. apacheaws

    apacheaws Señor Member

    Aug 4, 2006
    I think the bigger question is whether or not a giant earthquake is even possible in that area. I'm no expert, but I believe that the big ones only happen on borders between tectonic plates. A quick google image search shows this map:

    Again, I'm no expert... But I would say that there isn't even the remotest possibility of the Great Lakes experiencing an earthquake large enough to create a tsunami, regardless of shore geography or amount of water or anything else.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  10. g29andy

    g29andy CLM

    Jan 28, 2001
  11. Fumble

    Fumble RIP Poom . . .

    The question isn't really, is there enough water (there is) but how could one be caused. A rock slide (as happened in Alaska in 1958) isn't likely. Nor is an earthquake large enough likely to happen either. The only other option really would be a meteorite (or alien ship ala Battlefield Los Angeles) slamming into the middle of one of the lakes . . . something that isn't likely to happen either.
  12. geminicricket

    geminicricket NRA Life member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Lewisville, TX USA
    The motive force of the tsunami is the displacement of water caused by anything. It could be an earthquake, asteroid, or runaway glacier.

    If anything displaced enough water in a lake to push water several feet deep miles beyond the shore, that would be similar to a tsunami.

    Consider the difference in terms between a tsunami and the occasional flooding of the Red River in North Dakota after the Spring thaw.
    That and $4.50 will get you a latte at Starbucks.
  13. Goldendog Redux

    Goldendog Redux Shut your mouth

    Aug 22, 2003
    Awesome link. Thanks for sharing. I often imagine-while sitting along it's shoreline-of Lake Tahoe going huge due to landslide.

  14. Jay9928

    Jay9928 Buddy Revell

    Jan 19, 2009
    Phoenix, Az.
    Louisiana should take notes.
  15. thanospro

    thanospro Bring it.

    Jul 25, 2002
    Not trying to bust your chops but,,,

    At New Madrid, trees were knocked down and riverbanks collapsed. This event shook windows and furniture in Washington, D.C., rang bells in Richmond, Virginia, sloshed well water and shook houses in Charleston, South Carolina, and knocked plaster off of houses in Columbia, South Carolina. In Jefferson, Indiana, furniture moved and in Lebanon, Ohio, residents fled their homes.

    .....that created waterfalls on the Mississippi River, disrupted the Mississippi River at Kentucky Bend, created a wave that propagated upstream and caused the formation of Reelfoot Lake.[9]

    The earthquakes were felt as far away as New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, where ground motion caused church bells to ring.[13]"
  16. RottnJP

    RottnJP Lifetime Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Well, it's so hypothetical that it depends on your assumptions- need the right kind of fault to be there, and move enough, but sure if you want to postulate such a scenario.

    The slippage estimate I've seen for the fault in the Japan quake was 30 feet. Erie averages 60 feet or so, and maxes out at 200-ish. If you displace half that water 30 feet vertically, and send it sloshing about, youse gonna have a problem.

    Now it wouldn't have all the momentum behind it of a hundred miles of ocean, but you could clean out the Flats pretty good I bet. ;-) NE Ohio is so flat, it might go a ways inland.

    But that's really kind of like postulating a meltdown where no one has built a reactor, I would think.
  17. bug


    Feb 6, 2007
    Lots of cool info nothing definitive.

    We have had earthquakes here before not bad but you can feel it.
    The one that sticks out in my mind the most we had one that happened the same year as Challenger disaster.

    I have heard we are do for a good one but ehh who knows.

    I have also heard that Yellowstone is going to blow up as well and kill us all.

    I guess a good question would be if Yellowstone blows up and we have a 8.9 EQ at the same time.
    If I time it right can I catch a major wave on my way out.:supergrin:
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  18. Glacken


    Jul 31, 2001
    SE Fla
    Occasionally a low pressure area moves along Lake Erie at its harmonic frequency, causing a tidal wave (seiche) at its eastern end.
  19. g29andy

    g29andy CLM

    Jan 28, 2001
    Just better hope Rosie O'Donell doesn't decide to cannonball in Lake Erie.
  20. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Wouldn't the earthquake's epicenter have to be pretty much directly under the water for the bottom to move up or down that much? I don't think there are big enough faults under there.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011