Aircraft Carrier in Tsunami?

If a US aircraft carrier such as the USS Ronald Reagan was in the middle of a Sendai-tsunami would it be swept away?

In the middle, where?
A Tsunami is only dangerous in shallow water.

In deep water, a tsunami can pass by unnoticed.

In a harbour.

I would suspect that it would be perfectly safe in the middle of any harbor deep enough to float it. At a dock, it might get bounced around, and the dock might be damaged, but I think the carrier would be undamaged.

It would depend on the harbor. Also if it was laying cross ways to the wave or headed away of towards if. If at anchor it could end up dragging the anchor, so it might bump into some thing.

Depends on the harbor and so on but a tsunami is easily big enough to move a carrier. The carrier wouldn’t get tipped over ala the Poseidon Adventure but it could be carried inland and might tip as the bottom hits the ground or it could be smashed against a pier (probably destroying the pier and not the carrier).

The aphorism is not applicable here but close enough in a literal sense so: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Worth noting, if the carrier knew the tsunami was coming (such as ships based at Okinawa, Hawaii, California, etc.), they would likely go out to sea if they had the opportunity. Same goes for severe storms. Much better to be out in the middle of the water where you have room to get tossed around than right up against the shore where you are literally up against the wall. After Hurricane Katrina and before Hurricane Rita, many of the Navy ships providing support for the Gulf Coast made a dash out to sea to brave the storm before returning afterwards (and the Army and Air Force units did the inverse, dashing inland, for similar reasons: You can’t help others if you find yourself suddenly in need of help yourself)

But yeah, a carrier is huge, and designed to take the sort of abuse that such a large ship would face out to sea (worth noting, the ship not only has to deal with the water, but its own weight, depending on what the weather is doing. If the ship hits a large swell, the structure will be dealing with all sorts of interesting load changes as the front gets lifted up before the back.) These big ships tend to be rather ruggedly built simply because they have to be.

What if the carrier were right above the epicenter? What about those whirlpools we’re seeing? If one formed directly underneath a carrier, could it pull it down?

In the open ocean (deep) you could sit atop the biggest earthquake in history and might not even know it is happening.

Tsunami waves in the open ocean are barely noticeable (except that they move really fast). A carrier wouldn’t feel a thing.

The whirlpool did not look like it was pulling much of anything down. I doubt a dinghy would be sucked down by that despite its size.

What could happen for a small boat is it’d get stuck in the whirlpool and not have sufficient power to motor out.

Carriers have gobs of power so could probably drive right over it with little trouble.

Carriers use anchors?
How does an anchor work for something as huge as a carrier?

Sure they do.

Here is a pic of them on the George H. W. Bush supercarrier:

LOL I bet his dick ain’t anywhere near that big

What about a submarine a hundred feet or so down?

Would a submarine be able to ‘see’ a tsunami coming? With active or passive sonar? Assuming no outside info.

I really don’t know.

I would guess the sub would hear the earthquake with no problem. They “see” with their ears and if the sea floor is getting bounced around and rocks are grinding together I am willing to bet they couldn’t miss it.

As for what happens when a 500 mph pressure wave passes a sub? No clue. hard to think it’d pass without notice but then the pressure wave traveled the whole Pacific. We always have some subs out there. Either the sub would surface or it could stay down with no issue.

Since subs hate to surface needlessly and I have never heard of a sub getting whacked by a tsunami in the deep ocean while submerged (plenty have occurred since we have had subs…I would think this has been faced by them before) I would guess it passes them harmlessly as it does a surface ship.

By “see” do you mean “detect”? Then yes, military subs have sensitive instruments designed to detect.

But if you mean “feel” by the passengers, then USUALLY likely not. Out at sea most tsunamis are generally imperceptible or laughable at best as they will often measure a few centimeters trough to crest. Only when the wave reaches the shallows, does it multiply and become destructive. If the sub is 100 ft down it’s very unlikely.

In the case of this Japan tsumami, however, it likely would have been felt, as the earthquake was only 50ish miles from shore, and if the boat was also close to shore.

This tsunami has been reported at various locations at up to 30 feet. Certainly a height which can be felt in a boat. Still, this wave, traveling over 500 miles per hour, the wave would be felt as a rise and fall over the sea at 15 feet at best (waves are measure trough to crest, meaning 15 feet over mean sea level + 15 feet down.

The effect is not achieved in such a manner while “out to sea”

Thank you for ensuring that the discourse on this board stays at the high level of maturity which all men strive for.


Yes I mean “detect”. Subs have no windows. It is all about listening for them. I am willing to bet they’d hear the earthquake from hundreds of miles away.

As for the tsunami wave remember in the deep ocean surface ships do not see the wave because the wave is, literally, underwater. Almost none of it pokes out of the surface. As such surface ships don’t even notice them.

But what if you are a sub underwater and the underwater wave hits? Imagine the sub is sideways to the wave.

I have no idea how that would play out. My guess, as mentioned, is these things have happened before, we have had subs roaming the world’s oceans for decades, and I have never heard of this being an issue. Does not mean much as evidence but my guess is the wave would pass a submerged sub with no ill effect.

Like normal ocean action/waves, it comes to head when the energy runs into land. Out at sea, it is likely just one big, long lifting wave action.

ETA: Or a big-azz roller as we boating types call 'em.

People think of tsunami’s as this giant wave rolling across the open sea destroying everything in it’s path. In fact, the “wave” isn’t a wave but more of a flow. It becomes a wave when it nears shallow water and starts backing up on itself as it builds in height. In the middle of the ocean, it’s probably not even noticeable to a passenger on a ship.

Now, Rogue waves on the other hand might cause a problem.

Edit: fixed link

[quote=“Raguleader, post:16, topic:574372”]

Thank you for ensuring that the discourse on this board stays at the high level of maturity which all men strive for.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:.