This is a wave you won’t want to surf. Scientists at University College London, working in collaboration with engineers from HR Wallingford, announced plans to start building a tsunami-generator to better study the strange waves. Tsunami are difficult to study because they have enormously long wavelengths – if you were out on the open ocean, you could roll right over one of these monsters in your boat without even noticing. However, when they approach the shore, and shallow water, this wavelength shrinks, and they stand up higher and higher, eventually producing the walls of rushing water that can wipe out shorelines. To simulate these conditions, and study what happens as the tsunami’s wavelength contracts, the scientists and engineers plan to build a nearly 150-foot-long flume. They hope to have it operational by the summer of 2008.—Gregory Mone


(Image credit: HR Wallingford)