I woke to the sound of a little boy’s whisper, “Momma, momma, are you awake?”
    He laughed in his nearly 5-year-old mischievous voice that sounded much more blaring than angelic at 6 a.m. “Yes, you are. Good morning, momma.”
    “It’s still sleepy time.”
    “Momma, I have a question. If a tsunami happened in the Atlantic Ocean, would it reach us?”
    “No. We’re too far inland and too high in elevation. Go back to bed.”
    “How big would the tsunami have to be in order to reach us?”
    My short answer was not sufficient; the boy did not go away. This would require a more thoughtful answer, which was hard to muster at daybreak. I yawned, rubbed my eyes, and took a deep breath, “We’re 70 miles from the closest shore, and our house is 500 feet above sea level and nowhere near a major waterway. Even if there was a cataclysmic event such as a major volcanic eruption, earthquake, and the sinking of the Canary Islands resulting in a 300 foot tsunami—which is huge—the furthest the water would travel inland toward us would be
approximately 20 miles. That’s 50 miles from here. It would be devastating for the coastal cities, like New York, Newark, and Atlantic City. Philadelphia could see flooding along the Delaware River, perhaps as high as 20 feet, and that’s entirely depending on which direction and how fast the water was traveling, the topography of the ocean floor, and how much energy was accumulated when the water hit land. Philly is 50 miles from us, too. Even so, the entire event is unlikely.”
    “Oh, so a tsunami can’t get to us. Our house won’t be under water?”
    “No. We’re safe. Go back to bed.”
    “Okay, momma. I love you,” he said as he started to leave the room, “but we should still stock up on gummy bears and Star Wars toys, you know, just in case.”