Historic tsunamis

Historic tsunamis


Tsunamis occur most frequently in the Pacific Ocean, but are a global phenomenon; they are possible wherever large bodies of water are found, including inland lakes, where they can be caused by landslides. Very small tsunamis, non-destructive and undetectable without specialized equipment, occur frequently as a result of minor earthquakes and other events.

As early as 426 B.C. the Greek historian Thucydides inquired in his book "History of the Peloponnesian War" (3.89.1-6) about the causes of tsunamis. He argued rightly that it could only be explained as a consequence of ocean earthquakes, and could see no other possible causes for the phenomenon.Thucydides: [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.89.1 “A History of the Peloponnesian War”, 3.89.1-5] ]

Historic tsunamis

479 BC - Potidaea, Greece

The earliest exactly datable tsunami occurred during the Persian siege of the sea town Potidaea, Greece, in 479 BC. [Smid, T. C.: "'Tsunamis' in Greek Literature", "Greece & Rome", 2nd Ser., Vol. 17, No. 1 (Apr., 1970), pp. 100-104 (102f.)] The Greek historian Herodotus reports how the Persian attackers who tried to exploit an unusual retreat of the water were suddenly surprised by "a great flood-tide, higher, as the people of the place say, than any one of the many that had been before". Herodotus attributes the cause of the sudden flood to the wrath of Poseidon. [Herodotus: [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hdt.+8.129.1 "The Histories", 8.129] ]

426 BC - Maliakos Gulf tsunami, Greece

In the summer of 426 BC., a tsunami hit hard the Maliakos bay in Eastern Greece. [Antonopoulos, John: "The Tsunami of 426 BC in the Maliakos Gulf,Eastern Greece", "Natural Hazards", Vol. 5 (1992), pp.83-93] The Greek historian Thucydides (3.89.1-6) described how the tsunami and a series of earthquakes intervened with the events of the raging Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC):

The next summer the Peloponnesians and their allies set out to invade Attica under the command of Agis, son of Archidamus, and went as far as the Isthmus, but numerous earthquakes occurring, turned back again without the invasion taking place. About the same time that these earthquakes were so common, the sea at Orobiae, in Euboea, retiring from the then line of coast, returned in a huge wave and invaded a great part of the town, and retreated leaving some of it still under water; so that what was once land is now sea; such of the inhabitants perishing as could not run up to the higher ground in time. A similar inundation also occurred at Atalanta, the island off the Opuntian-Locrian coast, carrying away part of the Athenian fort and wrecking one of two ships which were drawn up on the beach. At Peparethus also the sea retreated a little, without however any inundation following; and an earthquake threw down part of the wall, the town hall, and a few other buildings.Thucydides: [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.89.1 “A History of the Peloponnesian War”, 3.89.1-4] ]

Thucydides proceeds to correlate for the first time in the history of natural science quakes and waves in terms of cause and effect: [Smid, T. C.: "'Tsunamis' in Greek Literature", "Greece & Rome", 2nd Ser., Vol. 17, No. 1 (Apr., 1970), pp. 100-104 (103f.)]

The cause, in my opinion, of this phenomenon must be sought in the earthquake. At the point where its shock has been the most violent the sea is driven back, and suddenly recoiling with redoubled force, causes the inundation. Without an earthquake I do not see how such an accident could happen.Thucydides: [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Thuc.+3.89.1 “A History of the Peloponnesian War”, 3.89.5] ]

373 BC - Helike tsunami, Greece

An earthquake and a tsunami destroy the prosperous Greek city Helike, lying 2 km away from the sea. The fate of the city which remained permanently submerged was often commented upon by ancient writers [ [http://www.helike.org/sources2.shtml The Lost Cities of Ancient Helike: Principal Ancient Sources] ] and may have inspired the contemporary Plato to the myth of Atlantis.

365 AD - Alexandria tsunami, Eastern Mediterranean

In the morning of 21 July a tsunami of great magnitude devastated Alexandria and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, killing thousands and hurling ships nearly two miles inland.Kelly, Gavin: “Ammianus and the Great Tsunami”, "The Journal of Roman Studies", Vol. 94 (2004), pp. 141-167 (141)] Stanley, Jean-Daniel & Jorstad, Thomas F. (2005): " [http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2005AM/finalprogram/abstract_96386.htm The 365 A.D. Tsunami Destruction of Alexandria, Egypt: Erosion, Deformation of Strata and Introduction of Allochthonous Material] "] The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus ("Res Gestae" 26.10.15-19) describes in his vivid account the typical sequence of the tsunami including an incipient earthquake, the sudden retreat of the sea and a following gigantic wave:

Slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts, the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake and shudder, and the sea was driven away, its waves were rolled back, and it disappeared, so that the abyss of the depths was uncovered and many-shaped varieties of sea-creatures were seen stuck in the slime; the great wastes of those valleys and mountains, which the very creation had dismissed beneath the vast whirlpools, at that moment, as it was given to be believed, looked up at the sun's rays. Many ships, then, were stranded as if on dry land, and people wandered at will about the paltry remains of the waters to collect fish and the like in their hands; then the roaring sea as if insulted by its repulse rises back in turn, and through the teeming shoals dashed itself violently on islands and extensive tracts of the mainland, and flattened innumerable buildings in towns or wherever they were found. Thus in the raging conflict of the elements, the face of the earth was changed to reveal wondrous sights. For the mass of waters returning when least expected killed many thousands by drowning, and with the tides whipped up to a height as they rushed back, some ships, after the anger of the watery element had grown old, were seen to have sunk, and the bodies of people killed in shipwrecks lay there, faces up or down. Other huge ships, thrust out by the mad blasts, perched on the roofs of houses, as happened at Alexandria, and others were hurled nearly two miles from the shore, like the Laconian vessel near the town of Methone which I saw when I passed by, yawning apart from long decay.Kelly, Gavin (2004), “Ammianus and the Great Tsunami”, The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 94, pp. 141-167 (141)]

The tsunami in 365 AD was so devastating that the anniversary of the disaster was still commemorated annually at the end of the 6th century in Alexandria as a “day of horror”. [Stiros, Stathis C.: “The AD 365 Crete earthquake and possible seismic clustering during the fourth to sixth centuries AD in the Eastern Mediterranean: a review of historical and archaeological data”, "Journal of Structural Geology", Vol. 23 (2001), pp. 545-562 (549 & 557)]

684 - Great Hakuho Earthquake, Japan (白鳳大地震)

Japan is the nation with the most recorded tsunamis in the world.Fact|date=February 2008 The number of tsunamis in Japan totals 195 over a 1,313 year period (thru 1997), averaging one event every 6.7 years, the highest rate of occurrence in the world.Fact|date=February 2008

The Great Hakuho Quake was the first recorded tsunami in Japan. It hit in Japan on November 29, 684. It occurred off the shore of the Kii Peninsula, Nankaido, Shikoku, Kii, and Awaji region. It has been estimated to be a magnitude 8.4 [http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/nndc/struts/results?bt_0=-2150&st_0=2005&type_17=Or&query_17=None+Selected&type_12=EXACT&query_12=JAPAN&type_12=Or&query_14=None+Selected&type_3=Like&query_3=&st_1=&bt_2=&st_2=&bt_1=&bt_4=&st_4=&bt_5=&st_5=&bt_6=&st_6=&bt_7=&st_7=&bt_8=&st_8=&bt_9=&st_9=&bt_10=&st_10=&type_11=Exact&query_11=&type_16=Exact&query_16=&display_look=1&t=101650&s=1&submit_all=Search+Database JNOAA Earthquake Database Query] ] It was followed by a huge tsunami, but no estimates on how many deaths. [http://contest.thinkquest.gr.jp/tqj2000/30295/history/japan.html] ]

887 Ninna Nankai Quake, Japan (仁和南海地震)

Aug 26 of the Ninna era, there was a strong shock in the Kyoto region, causing great destruction and some victims. At the same time, there was a strong earthquake in Osaka, Shiga, Gifu, and Nagano prefectures. A tsunami flooded the coastal locality, and some people died. The coast of Osaka and primarily Osaka Bay suffered especially heavily from the tsunami. The tsunami was also observed on the coast of Hyuga-Nada.

1096/1099 Quakes, Japan

The Dec 17 1096 Quake (永長東南海地震) Suruga Bay and Izu Peninsula experienced great tsunamis in 1096, followed by Shikoku and Kii Peninsula (康和南海地震) great tsunami of Feb 22 1099, Magnitude 8.4 The magnitude of the first are estimated to have been in the 8 range.

1293 Kamakura Quake (鎌倉大地震)

Magnitude 7.1 Quake and tsunami hit Kamakura, Japan's "de facto" capital, killing 23,000 after resulting fires.

1361 Shōhei Nankai Quake, Japan (正平 & 康安)南海地震)

On Aug 3 of the Shōhei era, a 8.4 Nankaido quake and tsunami hit, with 660 deaths, 1700 houses destroyed. There was a strong earthquake in Tokushima, Osaka, Wakayama, and Nara Prefectures and on Awaji Island. A tsunami was observed on the coast of Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures, in Kii Strait and in Osaka Bay.Yunomine Hot Spring (Wakayama Prefecture) stopped. Yukiminato, Awa completely destroyed by tsunami and more than 1,700 houses washed away. 60 persons drowned at Awa. Sea water receded in several hundred ha and flooded again, 500-600 deaths at Nambaura, Osaka.

1498 Meiō Nankai, Japan (明応地震)

Sep 20 7.5 Quake and tsunami hit in the Meiō era. Port in Wakayama damaged by tsunami of several meters in height.s 30-40 thousand deaths estimated

1605 Keichō Nankaido, Japan (慶長地震)

On Feb 3 of the Keichō era, a 8.1 Quake and tsunami hit 700 houses (41%) at Hiro, Wakayama Prefecture washed away. 3,600 drowned in Shishikui area. Awa, wave height 6-7m. 350 at Kannoura 60 at Sakihama drowned, wave height 5-6 m and 8-10 m, respectively. Total more than 5,000 drowned. An enormous tsunami with a maximum known rise of water of 30 m was observed on the coast from the Boso Peninsula to the eastern part of Kyushu Island. The eastern part of the Boso Peninsula, the coast of Tokyo Bay, the coast of the prefectures of Kanagawa and Shizouka, and the southeastern coast of Kochi Prefecture suffered especially heavily.

1698 Seikaido-Nankaido, Japan

Dec 22 Large Tsunami

1700 - Vancouver Island, Canada

January 26, 1700 - The Cascadia Earthquake, one of the largest earthquakes on record (estimated MW 9 magnitude), ruptured the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) offshore from Vancouver Island to northern California, and caused a massive tsunami across the Pacific Northwest logged in Japan and oral traditions of the Native Americans. Brian F. Atwater, Musumi-Rokkaku Satoko, Satake Kenji, Tsuji Yoshinobu, Ueda Kazue, and David K. Yamaguch prepared a "scientific detective story" investigating this tsunami entitled "The Orphan Tsunami of 1700—Japanese Clues to a Parent Earthquake in North America". This document is downloadable and available [http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1707/ online] .

1703 Genroku earthquake, Japan (元禄大地震)

In Nov 23, 1703 of the Genroku era the an offshore earthquake produced a massive tsunami hitting the southern shores of Kanagawa prefecture near Odawara. Mt. Fuji erupted, spewing heavy ash over Edo (now Tokyo). It was estimated to be magnitude 8.1, and 5,200 people died from the combined quake and tsunami, later more died from the ashfall crushing roofs and fires for a total of 37,000 deaths.

1707 Great Hōei Earthquake (宝永大地震)

Oct 28 of the Hōei era, 8.4 Quake and Tsunami 25.7 m high at Kure, Kochi Prefecture. More than 29,000 houses in total wrecked and washed away and about 30,000 deaths. In Tosa, 11,170 houses washed away and 18,441 persons drowned. About 700 drowned and 603 houses washed away in Osaka. 20 m high at Tanezaki, Tosa, 6.58 at Muroto. Hot springs at Yunomine, Sanji, Ryujin, Seto-Kanayana (Kii) and Dogo (Iyo,145 days) stopped.

1755 - Lisbon, Portugal

Tens of thousands of Portuguese who survived the Great Lisbon Earthquake on November 1 were killed by a tsunami which followed 40 minutes later. Many townspeople fled to the waterfront, believing the area safe from fires and from falling debris from aftershocks. Before the great wall of water hit the harbour, waters retreated, revealing lost cargo and forgotten shipwrecks. These people did not know that a Tsunami is a succession of waves, rather than just a single one.

The earthquake, tsunami, and many forest fires killed between 60,000 and 100,000 of Lisbon's pre-quake population of 275,000. Historical records of explorations by Vasco da Gama and other early navigators were lost, and countless buildings were destroyed (including most examples of Portugal's Manueline architecture). Europeans of the 18th century struggled to understand the disaster within religious and rational belief systems. Philosophers of the Enlightenment, notably Voltaire, wrote about the event. The philosophical concept of the sublime, as described by philosopher Immanuel Kant in the "Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime", took inspiration in part from attempts to comprehend the enormity of the Lisbon quake and tsunami.

The tsunami took just over 4 hours to travel over convert|1000|mi|km to Cornwall in the United Kingdom. An account by Arnold Boscowitz claimed "great loss of life."

1771 - Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa, Japan (八重山地震)

An undersea earthquake of estimated magnitude 7.4 occurred near Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa, Japan on 4 April, 1771 at about 8 A.M.. The earthquake is not believed to have directly resulted in any deaths, but a resulting tsunami is thought to have killed about 12,000 people, (9313 on the Yaeyama Islands and 2548 on Miyako Islands according to one source( [http://www3.pref.okinawa.jp/site/view/contview.jsp?cateid=41&id=3360&page=1] ). Estimates of the highest seawater runup on Ishigaki Island, range between 30 meters and 85.4 meters. The tsunami put an abrupt stop to population growth on the islands, and was followed by malaria epidemics and crop failures which decreased the population further. It was to be another 148 years before population returned to its pre-tsunami level.

1792 Volcanic Tsunami in Kyūshū, Japan (島原大変肥後迷惑)

Tsunamis were the main cause of death for Japan's worst-ever volcanic disaster, due to an eruption of Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture, Kyūshū, Japan. It began towards the end of 1791 as a series of earthquakes on the western flank of Mount Unzen which gradually moved towards "Fugen-daké", one of Mount Unzen's peaks. In February 1792, "Fugen-daké" started to erupt, triggering a lava flow which continued for two months. Meanwhile, the earthquakes continued, shifting nearer to the city of Shimabara. On the night of 21st May, two large earthquakes were followed by a collapse of the eastern flank of Mount Unzen's Mayuyama dome, causing an avalanche which swept through Shimabara and into Ariake Bay, triggering a tsunami. It is not known to this day whether the collapse occurred as a result of an eruption of the dome or as a result of the earthquakes. The tsunami struck Higo Province on the other side of Ariake Bay before bouncing back and hitting Shimabara again. Out of an estimated total of 15,000 fatalities, around 5,000 is thought to have been killed by the landslide, around 5,000 by the tsunami across the bay in Higo Province, and a further 5,000 by the tsunami returning to strike Shimabara.

1854 Ansei Great Quakes, Nankai (安政南海地震) Tokai, and Kyushu Japan

The Great Ansei Nankai Quake which hit the south coast of Japan, was actually set of 3 quakes, two magnitude 8.4 quakes and a 7.4 quake all in 3 days.

* The first on Nov 4, 1854 near what is today Aichi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture with tsunami.

* It was followed by another 8.4 the next day in Wakayama Prefecture, Earthquake generated a maximum wave of 28 meters at Kochi, Japan, and the earthquake that tsunami killed 3,000 people. The tsunami washed 15,000 homes away. The number of homes destroyed directly by the earthquake was 2,598; 1,443 people died.

* The third was a 7.4 quake on Nov 7, 1854 in Ehime Prefecture and Oita Prefecture.

The total result was 80,000-100,000 deaths. [ja icon [http://www.bo-sai.co.jp/anseinankai.htm 安政南海地震 ] ]  

1855 Ansei Great Quakes of Edo, Japan (安政江戸大地震)

* The following year, the 1855 Great Ansei Edo Quake hit (Tokyo region), killing 4,500 to 10,000 people. Popular stories of the time blamed the quakes and tsunamis on giant catfish called Namazu thrashing about. The Japanese era name was changed to bring good luck after 4 menacing quake/tsunamis in 2 years.

1868 - Hawaiian Islands local tsunami generated by earthquake

On April 2, 1868, a local earthquake with a magnitude estimated between 7.25 and 7.75 rocked the southeast coast of the Big Island of Hawaiokinai. It triggered a landslide on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, five miles north of Pahala, killing 31 people. A tsunami then claimed 46 additional lives. The villages of Punaluu, Ninole, Kawaa, Honuapo, and Keauhou Landing were severely damaged and the village of okinaĀpua was destroyed. According to one account, the tsunami "rolled in over the tops of the coconut trees, probably 60 feet high .... inland a distance of a quarter of a mile in some places, taking out to sea when it returned, houses, men, women, and almost everything movable." This was reported in the 1988 edition of Walter C. Dudley's book "Tsunami!" (ISBN 0-8248-1125-9).

1868 - Arica Tsunami

On August 16, 1868, an earthquake with a magnitude estimated at 8.5 struck the Peru-Chile Trench. A resulting tsunami struck the port of Arica, then located in Peru, killing an estimated 25,000 in Arica and 70,000 in all. Three military vessels anchored at Arica, the US warship "Watree" and the storeship "Fredonia", and the Peruvian warship "Americana", were swept up by the tsunami. [ [http://www.usc.edu/dept/tsunamis/peru/ptsu_1868.html The 1868 Arica Tsunami] ]

1883 - Krakatoa explosive eruption

The island volcano of Krakatoa in Indonesia exploded with devastating fury on August 26-27, 1883, blowing its underground magma chamber partly empty so that much overlying land and seabed collapsed into it. A series of large tsunami waves was generated from the collapse, some reaching a height of over 40 meters above sea level. Tsunami waves were observed throughout the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the American West Coast, South America, and even as far away as the English Channel. On the facing coasts of Java and Sumatra the sea flood went many miles inland and caused such vast loss of life that one area was never resettled but went back to the jungle and is now the Ujung Kulon nature reserve.

1896 - Meiji Sanriku Quake, Japan (明治三陸地震)

On 15 June, 1896, at around 19:36 local time, a magnitude 7.6 undersea earthquake off the Sanriku coast of northeastern Honshū, Japan, triggered tsunami waves which struck the coast about half an hour later. Although the earthquake itself is not thought to have resulted in any fatalities, the waves, the highest recorded measurement of which reaching 24.4 meters, killed approximately 27,000 people. In 2005 the same general area was hit by the 2005 Sanriku Japan Earthquake, but with no major tsunami.

1917 - Halifax Explosion and tsunami

The Halifax Explosion occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917 at 9:04:35 A.M. local time in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, when the French munitions ship "Mont-Blanc", bound for World War I France, collided with the Norwegian ship "Imo", chartered to carry Belgian relief supplies. In the aftermath of the collision, "Mont-Blanc" caught fire and exploded. The explosion caused a tsunami, and a pressure wave of air.

1923 - The Great Kanto Earthquake, Japan (関東大震災)

The Great Kanto Earthquake, which occurred in Eastern Japan on 1 September, 1923, and devastated Tokyo, Yokohama and the surrounding areas, caused tsunamis which struck the Shonan coast, Boso Peninsula, Izu Islands and the east coast of Izu Peninsula, within minutes in some cases. In Atami, waves reaching 12 meters were recorded. Examples of tsunami damage include about 100 people killed along Yui-ga-hama beach in Kamakura and an estimated 50 people on the Enoshima causeway. However, tsunamis only accounted for a small proportion of the final death toll of over 100,000, most of whom were killed in fire.

1929 - Newfoundland tsunami

On November 18, 1929, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 occurred beneath the Laurentian Slope on the Grand Banks. The quake was felt throughout the Atlantic Provinces of Canada and as far west as Ottawa and as far south as Claymont, Delaware. The resulting tsunami measured over 7 meters in height and took about 2½ hours to reach the Burin Peninsula on the south coast of Newfoundland, where 29 people lost their lives in various communities. It also snapped telegraph lines laid under the Atlantic.

1933 - Showa Sanriku Quake, Japan (昭和三陸地震)

On March 3, 1933, the Sanriku coast of northeastern Honshū, Japan which had already suffered a devastating tsunami in 1896 (see above) was again stuck by tsunami waves as a result of an offshore magnitude 8.1 earthquake. The quake destroyed about 5,000 homes and killed 3,068 people, the vast majority as a result of tsunami waves. Especially hard hit was the coastal village of Taro (now part of Miyako city) in Iwate Prefecture, which lost 42% of its total population and 98% of its buildings. Taro is now protected by an enormous tsunami wall, currently 10 meters in height and over 2 kilometers long. The original wall, constructed in 1958, saved Taro from yet another destruction from the 1960 Chilean tsunami (see below).

1944 - Tonankai Earthquake, Japan (東南海地震)

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake on 7 December, 1944, about 20 km off the Shima Peninsula in Japan, which struck the Pacific coast of central Japan, mainly Mie, Aichi, and Shizuoka Prefectures. News of the event was downplayed by the authorities in order to protect wartime morale, and as a result the full extent of the damage is not known, but the quake is estimated to have killed 1223 people, the tsunami being the leading cause of the fatalities.

1946 - Nankai Earthquake, Japan (南海地震)

21 December, 1946. The Nankai earthquake , magnitude 8.4 hit at 4:19 [local time] there was a catastrophic earthquake on the southwest of Japan in the Nankai area. It was felt almost everywhere in the central and western parts of the country. The tsunami that washed away 1451 houses and caused 1500 deaths in Japan. It was observed on tide gauges in California, Hawaii, and Peru.

Nankai quakes are periodic earthquakes occurring off the southern coast of Kii Peninsula and Shikoku, Japan every 100 to 150 years. Particularly hard hit were the coastal towns of Kushimoto and Kainan on the Kii Peninsula. The quake led to more than 1400 deaths, tsunami being the leading cause. measuring 8.4.

1946 - Pacific tsunami

The April 1 Aleutian Island earthquake tsunami that killed 159 people on Hawaii and five in Alaska (the lighthouse keepers at the Scotch Cap Light in the Aleutians) resulted in the creation of a tsunami warning system known as the Pacific Tsunami Warning System (specifically the PTWC), established in 1949 for Pacific Ocean area countries. The tsunami is known as the "April Fools Day Tsunami" in Hawaii due to people thinking the warnings were an April Fools prank.

1952 Severo-Kurilsk tsunami

The November 5, 1952 tsunami killed 2,336 on the Kuril Islands, USSR.

1958 - Lituya Bay megatsunami

On July 9, 1958, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 on the Richter scale rocked a small inlet in Alaska called Lituya Bay. It then caused part of a mountain at the back of the bay to collapse, creating a landslide that cause a monstrous tsunami (an "iminami") to fly headlong through the bay. At a mountain at the mouth of the bay, the run was measured to be 524 m (about 1742 ft) making it the largest wave in recorded history. It swept up three boats; two managed to ride the wave, but the other one was swept into the Pacific Ocean, where it was completely destroyed and the people aboard it were killed.

1960 - Chilean tsunami

The magnitude 9.5 Great Chilean Earthquake of May 22, 1960 is the strongest earthquake ever recorded. Its epicenter, off the coast of South Central Chile, generated one of the most destructive tsunami of the 20th Century. It also caused a volcano eruption.

It spread across the entire Pacific Ocean, with waves measuring up to 25 meters high. The first tsunami arrived at Hilo approximately 14.8 hrs after it originated off the coast of South Central Chile. The highest wave at Hilo Bay was measured at around 10.7 m (35 ft). 61 lives were lost allegedly due to people's failure to heed warning sirens.

Almost 22 hours after the quake, the waves hit the ill-fated Sanriku coast of Japan, reaching up to 3 m above high tide, and killed 142 people. Up to 6,000 people died in total worldwide due to the earthquake and tsunami. [cite web|url=http://www.em-dat.net|accessdate=2006-05-30|publisher=CRED|title="Emergency & Disasters Data Base"]

1963 - Vajont Dam Megatsunami

The Vajont Dam was completed in 1961 under Monte Toc, 100 km north of Venice, Italy. At 262 metres, it was one of the highest dams in the world. On October 9, 1963 an enormous landslide of about 260 million cubic metres of forest, earth, and rock, fell into the reservoir at up to 110 km per hour (68 mph). The resulting displacement of water caused 50 million cubic metres of water to overtop the dam in a 250-metre high wave. The flooding destroyed the villages of Longarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova and Faè, killing 1,450 people. Almost 2,000 people (some sources report 1,909) perished in total.

1964 - Niigata Earthquake (新潟地震)

The 1964 Niigata earthquake in Japan killed 28 people, and liquefacted whole apartment buildings. A subsequent tsunami destroyed the port of Niigata city.

1964 - Good Friday tsunami

After the magnitude 9.2 "Good Friday Earthquake" tsunamis struck Alaska, British Columbia, California, and coastal Pacific Northwest towns, killing 121 people. The waves caused by the Tsunamis were up to 23 m tall, and killed 11 people as far away as Crescent City, California.This happened on March 27, 1964. The incident was covered in Dennis Powers' "The Raging Sea: The Powerful Account of the Worst Tsunami in U.S. History" Dennis Powers (ISBN 0806526823).

1976 - Moro Gulf tsunami

On August 16, 1976 at 12:11 A.M., a devastating earthquake of 7.9 hit the island of Mindanao, Philippines. It created a tsunami that devastated more than 700 km of coastline bordering Moro Gulf in the North Celebes Sea. An estimated number of victims for this tragedy left 5,000 dead, 2,200 missing or presumed dead, more than 9,500 injured and a total of 93,500 people were left homeless. It devastated the cities of Cotabato, Pagadian, and Zamboanga, and the and provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, and Zamboanga del Sur.

1979 - Tumaco tsunami

A magnitude 7.9 earthquake occurred on December 12, 1979 at 7:59:4.3 UTC along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador. The earthquake and the resulting tsunami caused the destruction of at least six fishing villages and the death of hundreds of people in the Colombian province of Nariño. The earthquake was felt in Bogotá, Cali, Popayán, Buenaventura, and several other cities and towns in Colombia and in Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Quito, and other parts of Ecuador. When the Tumaco Tsunami hit the coast, it caused huge destruction in the city of Tumaco, as well as in the small towns of El Charco, San Juan, Mosquera, and Salahonda on the Pacific coast of Colombia. The total number of victims of this tragedy was 259 dead, 798 wounded and 95 missing or presumed dead.

1983 - Sea of Japan tsunami (日本海中部地震)

On May 26, 1983 at 11:59:57 local time, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake occurred in the Sea of Japan, about 100 km west of the coast of Noshiro in Akita Prefecture, Japan. Out of the 107 fatalities, all but four were killed by the resulting tsunami, which struck communities along the coast, especially Aomori and Akita Prefectures and the east coast of Noto Peninsula. Footage of the tsunami hitting the fishing harbor of Wajima on Noto Peninsula was broadcast on TV. The waves exceeded 10 meters in some areas. Three of the fatalities were along the east coast of South Korea (whether North Korea was affected is not known). The tsunami also hit Okushiri Island, the site of a more deadly tsunami 10 years later.

1993 - Okushiri, Hokkaido tsunami (北海道南西沖地震)

A devastating "tsunami wave" occurred along the coasts of Hokkaidō in Japan as a result of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, convert|80|mi|km offshore, on July 12, 1993.
Within minutes, the Japan Meteorological AgencyFact|date=March 2007 issued a tsunami warning that was broadcast on NHK in English and Japanese (archived at [http://library.skr.jp/19930712_nanseioki.htm NHK library] ). However, it was too late for Okushiri, a small island near the epicenter, which was struck with extremely big waves, some reaching 30 meters, within two to five minutes of the quake. Aonae, a village on a low-lying peninsula at the southern tip of the island, was devastated over the course of the following hour by 13 waves of over two meters’ height arriving from multiple directions, including waves that had bounced back off Hokkaidō—despite being surrounded by tsunami barriers. Of 250 people killed as a result of the quake, 197 were victims of the series of tsunamis that hit Okushiri; the waves also caused deaths on the coast of Hokkaidō. While many residents, remembering the 1983 tsunami (see above), survived by quickly evacuating on foot to higher ground, it is thought that many others underestimated how soon the waves would arrive (the 1983 tsunami took 17 minutes to hit Okushiri) and were killed as they attempted to evacuate by car along the village’s narrow lanes. The highest wave of the tsunami was a staggering 31 meters (102 ft) high.

1998 - Papua New Guinea

On 17 July, 1998, a Papua New Guinea tsunami killed approximately 2200 people [http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/PNG.html] . A 7.1 magnitude earthquake 24 km offshore was followed within 11 minutes by a tsunami about 12 m tall. While the magnitude of the quake was not large enough to create these waves directly, it is believed the earthquake generated an undersea landslide, which in turn caused the tsunami. The villages of Arop and Warapu were destroyed.

2004 - Indian Ocean tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.0 to 9.3, [http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/spotlight/tsunami/tsunami.html] triggered a series of lethal tsunamis on December 26, 2004, that killed approximately 300,000 people (including 168,000 in Indonesia alone), making it the deadliest tsunami as well as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. It also had the second-largest earthquake in recorded history. The initial surge was measured at a height of approximately 33 meters (108 ft), making it the largest earthquake-generated tsunami in recorded history. The tsunami killed people over an area ranging from the immediate vicinity of the quake in Indonesia, Thailand, and the north-western coast of Malaysia, to thousands of kilometres away in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and even as far away as Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania in eastern Africa. This is an example of a teletsunami which can travel vast distances across the open ocean, in this case, it is an inter-continental tsunami. Tsunami waves 2.6 meters tall were reported even in places such as Mexico, nearly 13,000 km away from the epicentre. The energies for these waves travel along fault lines and becoming concentrated therefore travelling further.

Unlike in the Pacific Ocean, there was no organized alert service covering the Indian Ocean. This was in part due to the absence of major tsunami events since 1883 (the Krakatoa eruption, which killed 36,000 people). In light of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, UNESCO and other world bodies have called for an international tsunami monitoring system.

2006 - South of Java Island tsunami

A 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean seabed on July 17,2006, 200 km south of Pangandaran, a beautiful beach famous to surfers for its perfect waves. This earthquake triggered tsunamis whose heights varied from 2 meters at Cilacap to 6 meters at Cimerak beach, where it swept away and flattened buildings as far as 400 meters away from the coastline. More than 800 people were reported missing or dead.

2006 - Kuril Islands tsunami

On November 15, 2006, an 8.1 magnitude quake struck an area claimed by both Russia and Japan, but the waves near Japan did not swell higher than convert|23|in|mm. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Six hours later, tsunami waves up to nearly convert|5|ft|m high caused by the quake crashed into Crescent City, California and Santa Cruz, California causing considerable damage.

2007 - Solomon Islands tsunami

On April 2, 2007, a powerful magnitude 8.1 (initially 7.6) earthquake hit the East Pacific region about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the Solomon Islands at 7:39 a.m., resulting in a tsunami that was up to 17 feet (5 m) tall. The wave, which struck the coast of Solomon Islands (mainly Gizo), triggered region-wide tsunami warnings and watches extending from Japan to New Zealand to Hawaii and the eastern seaboard of Australia. So far, at least 39 people are confirmed dead with the toll expected to rise. Dozens more have been injured with entire towns inundated by the sweeping water which travelled 300 meters inland in some places. Simbo, Choiseul and Ranunga islands were also affected. A state of national emergency was declared for the Solomon Islands. On the island of Choiseul, a wall of water reported to be convert|30|ft|m high swept almost 400 meters inland destroying everything in its path. Officials estimate that the tsunami displaced more than 5000 residents all over the archipelago.

2007 - Niigata earthquake (新潟県中越沖地震)

On 16 July 2007, a strong earthquake struck northwestern Japan, causing a fire and minor radioactive water leak at one of the world's most powerful nuclear power plants. At least seven people were killed and hundreds injured. Japan's Meteorological Agency measured the quake at 6.8 on the richter scale and sending aftershocks of 6.6. The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors quakes around the world, said the initial quake registered 6.7. A tsunami watch was issued along the Sea of Japan. The predicted height of the tsunami was estimated to be 50 cm (20 inches). [cite web |url= http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-07-16T073108Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_India-284910-3.xml|title= Strong quake jolts Japan, tsunami alert issued|accessdate=2007-07-16 |format= |work= Reuters] That earthquake sparked only a few small tsunamis, growing to be no more than about 20 cm (8 inches) tall. However, the 1964 quake and tsunami north of the current one destroyed the port of the city of Niigata.

Other tsunamis in South Asia

North American and Caribbean tsunamis

* 1690 - Nevis
* 14 November 1840 - Great Swell on the Delaware River
* 18 November 1867 - Virgin Islands
* 17 November 1872 - Maine
* 11 October 1918 - Puerto Rico
* 18 November 1929 - Newfoundland
* 9 January 1926 - Maine
* 4 August 1946 - Dominican Republic
* 18 August 1946 - Dominican Republic
* 27 March 1964 - Crescent City, CA
* 15 November 2006 - Crescent City, CA

Possible tsunamis
* 35 million years ago - Chesapeake Bay impact crater, Chesapeake Bay
* 9 June 1913 - Longport, NJ
* 6 August 1923 - Rockaway Park, Queens, NY .
* 8 August 1924 - Coney Island, NY .
* 19 August 1931 - Atlantic City, NJ
* 22 June 1932 - Cuyutlán, Colima, Mexico
* 19 May 1964 - Northeast USA
* 4 July 1992 - Daytona Beach, FL

Source: [http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/phi/reports/tsunami.htm NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office] , [http://www.esmas.com/noticierostelevisa/investigaciones/420997.html]

European tsunamis

* 6100 BC - Storegga Slide, Norway - Generated a convert|70|ft|m|sing=on high tsunami that hit Norway and Northern Scotland.
* 20 January 1607 - Around 2000 people died when the Bristol channel was hit by a tsunami caused by an underwater earthquake off the coast of Southern Ireland. This was the worst natural disaster in British history.
* 1 November 1755 - The coast of Cornwall was hit by a three meter high tsunami, caused by an earthquake in Lisbon. Little damage was reported.
* 16 October 1979 - 23 people died when the coast of Nice, France, was hit by a tsunami. This may have had a man-made cause: construction at the new Nice airport creating an undersea landslide. [http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/(v5vg3l2tc4kfq2m223kj2l45)/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,3,4;journal,18,26;linkingpublicationresults,1:102476,1] [http://www.azurseisme.com/Tsunamis.htm] [http://www.lamouettelaurentine.com/st_laurent_du_var/port/tsunami.htm] [http://cdf.u-3mrs.fr/~lepichon/2006col_fichiers/livret.pdf]

Other historic tsunamis

Other tsunamis that have occurred include the following:
* ca. 500 B.C.: Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu, India, Maldives
* 1541: a tsunami struck the earliest European settlement in Brazil, São Vicente. There is no record of deaths or injuries, but the town was almost completely destroyed.


The largest tsunami so far recorded is the 1958 Lituya Bay Megatsunami which had a recorded height of 524m (1742ft). The only other recent megatsunami is the 1963 Vajont Dam Megatsunami which measured heights of 250m (750ft).

ee also

* List of deadly earthquakes since 1900
* List of natural disasters by death toll
* List of earthquakes
* Tsunamis in the United Kingdom


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