As I watched the devastation in Japan I thought of one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare dealing with missed opportunities. Yes, I know he wasn't talking about a tsunami, but it still came to my mind because of the reference to tides:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures
Kenneth Chang reports in an NY Times piece that a modest cubic yard of water, 3' x 3' x 3', weighs nearly 1,700 lbs. If that water is moving at 30 or 40 mph in a tsunami it becomes deadly. The article notes that if it is a wall of water 10 meters high and two miles long then it is like a hundred tanks moving at a high speed. In this event, the earthquake pushed section of sea floor 250 miles long and only 50 miles deep an average of one yard. That caused billions of cubic yards of water weighing trillions of pounds to be moved towards shore. In oue state, living inland from the coast, I don't worry about a tsunami as much as I do about the destruction caused by an earthquake here of this magnitude.