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Poseidon Adventure - Unusual Tsunami
During the scene where the tsunami capsizes the ship is a bit farfetched. First, tsunamis in deep water have heights of less than a meter-hardly anything that a captain would notice on radar much less capsize a boat, tsunamis only become dangerous as it approaches shallow coastal waters, where it piles up into a wave many meters high. Second, tsunamis travel much faster than 60 knots. Unless the Poseidon had been very close to shore, the captain would have been hard put to have even noticed the tsunami.
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Rated 3.6/10 (23 ratings) Your opinion?
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Contributed By: Anonymous on 03-08-2001 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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scott writes:
I agree that this is a slip-up. HOWEVER, to be totally fair, there is a (seemingly) throw-away line from the captain regarding the wave: "It seems to be building up in those shallows."
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Pete writes:
Also puzzling is the fact that the ship was apparently flooded enough by the wave alone to not be able to right itself. I very much doubt that the extra weight of some passengers could make a ship of that size unstable. You can see in one of the outside shot that the ship is listing about 60 degrees to starboard, and seems to be starting to swing back onto an even keel. The camera then cuts back inside and the room is tilted at some 85 degrees, and it continues to roll over. I've seen ships hit by 100 foot rogue waves. They often had huge holes punched in them, but they stayed upright. Robin (the boy) even mentions the sinking of the Andrea Doria. She had a 30-foot hole punched in her side, and it took 10 hours for enough water to spill in before she capsized. Seems a bit unlikely that Poseidon would have capsized from a tidal wave, then, eh?
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jdyer writes:
One it is a rogue wave, which does happen in open water, and can be 100s of feet tall. Second, if a ship has enough cargo that is not buckled down (secure), it could potentially cause the ship to invert, especially if it was hit mostly broad side, but it would have to be in a large hold and that hold would have to be running the width of the ship.
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fweddy writes:
In Paul Gallico's novel he describes the wave immediatly forming as the direct result of a massive rock slip occurring on the ocean floor and almost directly beneath the keel of the Poseidon. This had the effect of sucking billions of tons of water down and forming a trough which the hapless ship slipped into and as the trough bounced back the wave formed and flipped the 'top heavy and out of trim ship' over. The Captain and his bridge crew only got a few seconds warning from his lookouts.
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Pete writes:
Also, they may be using a different perspective, but in the underwater shot after the ship capsizes, it seems to be settling from the port side. Again, it might just be shot from a different angle, or the ship might be swinging a bit like a pendulum.
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Homer writes:
I think it was a rogue wave, something that does happen in the open seas once in a while. Haven't seen this cheesy flick for a while.
2 of 7 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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