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An inquiry approach to using the celerity (=velocity) of a tsunami to measure the depth of the ocean along its path. Tsunami are shallow-water waves, because their wavelengths are so long relative to ocean depth. Shallow-water wave celerity depends on ocean depth. Students reason this out. They then determine the distance of the path of the tsunami from the epicenter of the 1964 Alaska Good Friday earthquake tsunami to various locations, use tsunami arrival times to calculate the velocity, and re-arrange the shallow-water celerity equation to calculate depth. Students evaluate the geographic distribution of water depths.
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