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Circular motion in wind generated waves

Water in wind generated waves exibits circular motion. Most of this motion happens at or near the water surface. Actually, water stays almost at the same place, but the peaks of its motion are relayed in the form of waves. This explains why these waves do not push on shore very far - water itself does not move forward.

The tsunami waves are quite different. Their wavelength may reach up to 100 kilometers and even small tsunami waves may have devastating impact on shores. Tsunami waves engage all the water, not just the surface layer, and water itself moves forward.

The sound effects used in this animation are by users: "Ocean waves Smygehuk 2" licensed under CC-BY 3.0 in 2013 by Owl ( and "Flock of seagulls" licensed under CC-BY 3.0 in 2010 by Juskiddink (
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