World's first tsunami generator is the wave pool from hell

No one will complain that the waves are too weak in this pool. The engineers at HR Wallingford in Oxfordshire, Britain have built the world's first tsunami generator to help analyze the devastating effects the colossal waves can have. One obstacle in reproducing the effects of a tsunami is their super-long wavelength, but the generator gets it right by first sucking water out of the flume's narrows with fans into a low-pressure tank. Then, by repeatedly releasing air into the tank and forcibly pushing the water back out, the wave generated has an appropriately elongated back end. While nowhere near the size of a real tsunami, this allows researchers to study an accurate scale model of the forces involved, including a powerful, sucking current which happens underneath the wave and undermines many of our preventive building efforts.

Since we still can't stop major natural disasters, studying them by using installations like the tsunami tank allows us to better plan for them, and recover faster in their wake.

PopSci, via OhGizmo!