Tsunamis – Notable

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Table: Tsunamis – Notable

Date Location – Description Fatalities
6225-6170 BC Location: Norwegian Sea
The Storegga Slides occurred 100 km north-west of the Møre coast in the Norwegian Sea, causing a very large tsunami in the North Atlantic Ocean. This collapse involved an estimated 290 km length of coastal shelf, with a total volume of 3,500 km3 of debris.
Unknown
1600 BC

Location: Santorini, Greece, Crete
The eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Santorini eruption, is assumed to have caused severe damage to cities around it, most notably the Minoan civilization on Crete. A huge tsunami is assumed to be the factor that caused the most damage.

90,000+
426 BC Location: Malian Gulf, Greece
The first historic recorded tsunami. In the summer of 426 BC, a tsunami hit the Malian Gulf between the northwest tip of Euboea and Lamia. 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).
Unknown
373 BC Location: Helike, Greece
An earthquake and a tsunami destroyed 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 and may have inspired the contemporary Plato to the myth of Atlantis.
All inhabitants of city
365 AD Location: Alexandria, Eastern Mediterranean
In the morning of July 21, 365 AD, an earthquake of great magnitude caused a huge tsunami more than 100 feet (30 m) high. It devastated Alexandria and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, particularly Libya, Alexandria and the Nile Delta, killing thousands and hurling ships nearly two miles inland. The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (Res Gestae 26.10.15–19) the sequence of the earthquake and the tsunami; the sudden retreat of the sea and a following gigantic wave.
Thousands
684 AD Location: Hakuho, Japan
The Great Hakuho Earthquake, estimated to be a magnitude-8.4, 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. Japan is the nation with the most recorded tsunamis in the world.
Unknown
1498 AD Location: Meiō Nankai, Japan
The 1498 Nankai earthquake occurred off the coast of Nankaidō, Japan, on 20 September 1498. The quake triggered a tsunami several meters in height and hit in the Meiō era.
30,000-40,000
1700 AD Location: Pacific Northwest Coast
On January 26, 1700, the Cascadia earthquake, one of the largest earthquakes on record (estimated magnitude-9), ruptured the Cascadia subduction zone offshore from Vancouver Island to northern California, and caused a massive tsunami across the Pacific Northwest that also reached Japan. The geological record reveals that earthquakes occur in the Cascadia subduction zone every 500 years on average, often accompanied by tsunamis that could reach heights of 80 to 100 feet (24 to 30 m).
Unknown
1755 AD Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Tens of thousands of Portuguese people who survived the Great Lisbon Earthquake on November 1, 1755 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. When at the waterfront, they saw that the sea was rapidly receding, revealing a sea floor littered with lost cargo and forgotten shipwrecks. The tsunami struck with a maximum height of 15 metres (49 ft), and went far inland.
40,000-50,000
1868 AD Location: Hawaiian Islands
On April 2, 1868, a magnitude-7.5-8.0 earthquake rocked the SE coast of Hawaiʻi. It triggered a landslide on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano and a localized tsunami. The villages of Punaluu, Ninole, Kawaa, Honuapo, and Keauhou Landing were severely damaged and the village of ʻĀpua was destroyed. The tsunami reached heights of the tops of the coconut trees, probably 60 feet high, and went inland a distance of a quarter of a mile in some places. The Hawaiian Islands have been hit by numerous tsunamis, some generated thousands of miles away, others the result of earthquakes and landslides occurring within the archipelago.
47
1883 AD Location: Krakatoa, Sunda Strait, Indonesia
On August 27, 1883 two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago, creating massive tsunami waves more than 150 feet (45 m) high. The town of Merak was destroyed by a tsunami 46 m (151 ft) high. Ships as far away as South Africa rocked as tsunamis hit them, and the bodies of victims were found floating in the ocean for months after the event.
36,417 – 120,000
1908 AD Location: Messina, Italy
On December 28, 1908, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake occurred centered on the of city Messina, in Sicily. Reggio on the Italian mainland also suffered heavy damage. Moments after the earthquake, a 12-meter (39-foot) tsunami struck nearby coasts, causing even more devastation; 91% of structures in Messina were destroyed.
123,000
1946 AD Location: Alaska, Hawaiian Islands
The magnitude-8.1 earthquake that occurred near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska on April 1, 1946 was followed by a Pacific-wide tsunami. The tsunami was unusually powerful for the size of the earthquake, creating multiple destructive waves at heights ranging from 45–130 ft. The large-scale destruction prompted the creation of the Seismic Sea Wave Warning System, which later became the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 1949.
165
1958 AD Location: Lituya Bay, Alaska
On July 9, 1958 an earthquake along the Fairweather Fault in the Alaska Panhandle loosened about 40 million cubic yards (30.6 million cubic meters) of rock high above the northeastern shore of Lituya Bay. The impact generated a local tsunami that crashed against the southwest shoreline of Gilbert Inlet. The force of the wave removed all trees and vegetation from elevations as high as 1720 feet (524 meters) above sea level. Millions of trees were uprooted and swept away by the wave. This is the highest wave that has ever been known.
0
1960 AD Location: Valdivia, Chile
The magnitude-9.5 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 tsunamis of the 20th Century. It also caused a volcanic eruption. The tsunami spread across the entire Pacific Ocean, with waves measuring up to 25 meters high. The first tsunami arrived at Hilo and 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.
6,000
1964 AD Location: Alaska, Pacific Northwest
After a magnitude-9.2 earthquake centered on Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 27, 1964, tsunamis struck Alaska, British Columbia, California, and coastal Pacific Northwest towns, killing 121 people. The waves were up to 100 feet (30 m) tall, and killed 11 people as far away as Crescent City, California.
139
1993 AD Location: Okushiri, Hokkaido, Japan
On July 12, 1993, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake, centered 80 miles (130 km) offshore the coast of Hokkaidō in Japan. It triggered a major tsunami that caused deaths on Hokkaidō and in southeastern Russia. The island of Okushiri was hardest hit, with 165 casualties from the earthquake, the tsunami and a large landslide.
250
1998 AD Location: Papua New Guinea
On 17 July 1998, a magnitude-7.1 earthquake 24 km offshore caused a large undersea landslide which was followed by a tsunami about 15 m (49 ft) tall.
2,200
2004 AD Location: Indian Ocean
On December 26, 2004, a magnitude-9.3 earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (100 ft) high.
230,210
2011 AD Location: Pacific coast of Japan
On March 11, 2011, off the Pacific coast of Japan, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake produced a tsunami 33 feet (10 m) high along Japan’s northeastern coast. The highest tsunami which was recorded at Miyako, Iwate reached a total height of 40.5 metres (133 ft). In addition, the tsunami precipitated multiple hydrogen explosions and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
18,550

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