Natural Warning Signs

Sensing a Tsunami

Tsunamis can be detected using our human senses.
Recognize a tsunami’s natural warning signs.


  • Big local earthquakes may cause tsunamis
  • FEEL the ground shaking severely, or for a long time?



  • Tsunami may be preceded by a rapid fall in sea level as the ocean recedes, exposing reefs, rocks, and fishes on the sea bottom.
  • Tsunami often come ashore as a wall of water, and quickly flood inland.
  • SEE an unusual disappearance of water, or oncoming wall of water?



  • Abnormal ocean activity, a wall of water, and
    approaching tsunami create a loud “roaring”
    sound similar to that of a train or jet aircraft.
  • HEAR the roar?



  • Don’t wait for official evacuation orders.
  • Immediately leave low-lying coastal areas.
  • Move inland to higher ground.
  • RUN if you see a tsunami coming!


Download and print these natural warning signs: Sensing a Tsunami (PDF)

View all ITIC's Tsunami Safety flyers in English, Bahasa (Indonesia), Tongan and Spanish. Click here.






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Featured Resources

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Regional Disaster Information Center (Latin America & the Caribbean)

A database of Spanish language materials focused on tsunami preparedness.
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Post-Tsunami Survey:
El Salvador Summary Video

Learn the basics of a post-tsunami survey.

TsunamiTeacher USA
Tsunami Basics

Also on YouTube youtube_logo
(w/closed captioning)

Learn the basics of tsunamis. Available in English and Samoan.

Tsunamis on the Move

Tsunami Awareness Poster

Awareness poster available in English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Singalese.


Global Hazard Maps

Posters of Tsunami Sources, Significant Earthquakes and Significant Volcanic Eruptions. Also Tsunami Sources Icosohedron Globe.

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Tsunami, The Great Waves

Available in English, Spanish, French and Chinese.


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Tsunami Glossary

Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Bahasa. 



Where the First Wave Arrives in Minutes

Available in English, Bahasa, Spanish and French.


DVD copies for PC and Macintosh computers are available free of charge from the ITIC, Hawaii (

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1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA | Tel: +1 808 725 6050 | Fax: +1 808 725 6055