When an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, or some other sudden, severe event disturbs the ocean floor, it can generate a series of huge ocean waves called tsunamis. Tsunamis, which can destroy miles of shoreline and buildings, can happen anywhere along the coasts.
How to stay safe: If you're near the ocean and feel an earthquake, drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking stops, then move quickly to higher ground. If you hear a tsunami warning, "move away from the coast and move as far inland as you can," says Judge.
No matter what: Don’t try to find a place to watch a tsunami. If you can see it, you are too close.