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Famous Tsunamis

Updated on October 22, 2011

Tsunami is a series of waves in the ocean or sea, it can create a lot of havoc and destruction in the areas affected. It can occur because of some geological, activity which displaces large volume of water. Usually it is an earthquake occurring in coastal areas or near the seafloor, displacing volume of water on shores.

It can also cause by a volcanic eruption beneath the surface of water. Energy generated by an earthquake under the water, is released in the form of a series of waves. The waves are very powerful and can brush off everything that comes in the way.

The tsunami occurring in deep oceans is not as destructive, and do not rise much, as the one that is generated nearer the coasts causing giant waves to form and causing more destruction.

Let us discuss some of the major tsunamis of all times:

A copper engraving showing the destruction caused in the city due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
A copper engraving showing the destruction caused in the city due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Tsunami of Lisbon, Portugal

In 1755, in Lisbon, Portuguese, around 9:30 in the morning the city was hit by an earthquake of 9 magnitudes on Richter scale. The core was the west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent, situated in the Atlantic Ocean.

There were three earthquake shakes; the shakes were so strong that it created 16 feet cracks in the earth. After 30 minutes, more destruction was made, when a tsunami hit the coast of Portugal.

There were two more tsunami waves followed. The waves almost reached as high as 98 feet. Eighty-five percent of its buildings had been destroyed and over 100,000 people were killed.

Destruction caused after the tsunami in Sanriku.
Destruction caused after the tsunami in Sanriku.
A destroyed building in Messina, after the earthquake.
A destroyed building in Messina, after the earthquake.

Tsunami in Sanriku, Japan

On June 15, 1896 an earthquake came on the northeast coast of Honshu Island some ninety miles from shore.

It was of reading 8.5 on the rector scale, followed by a gigantic tsunami, hitting the northeast coast of Japan.

There was not much knowledge of the earthquake doing an overwhelming damage killing 26,000 people. The reason behind the lack of knowledge was the distance from shore and its nature.

Tsunami Messina, Italy

On the early morning of December 28, 1908, in Messina; Italy witnessed the deadliest earthquake in European history.

The earthquake was of 7.2 magnitude, bringing down several story buildings and burying many people in it. Few moments later, the tsunami came, with wave height between 20 to 40 feet.

The entire city of Messina was shook roughly; out of a 150,000 total population almost 100,000 people had been fully destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The red region in the map showing The Kamchatka Peninsula.
The red region in the map showing The Kamchatka Peninsula.

Tsunami of Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

On November 4, 1952, an earthquake hit the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, leading to a tsunami. It was of magnitude 8.2 on Richter scale with the focal depth of 30 km.

Six cows died and loss ranged from $800,000 to $1,000,000 in Hawaii, and no human loss was recorded. The tsunami caused severe damage to Kamchatka Peninsula, flooding streets and buildings.

In the Hawaiian Islands the boats were destroyed, telephone lines were knocked down and lawns were flooded. Other damage include cement barge thrown and a bridge was destroyed, which connected Coconut Island to the shore.

Map showing the regions effected by tsunami, caused due to the Great Chilean Earthquake and their travel time.
Map showing the regions effected by tsunami, caused due to the Great Chilean Earthquake and their travel time.

Tsunami In South Central Chile

On May 22, 1960, the strongest earthquake was recorded in the history near the coast of South Central Chile.

It has the magnitude of 9.5 on the Richter scale, and just after 15 minutes a tsunami came with a height of 30 feet.

It flooded more than 500 miles of the Chilean coast. The earthquake together with tsunami and mudslide damages, caused $550 million recorded loss and around 2,000 people died.

Map showing the epicenter of the earthquake at Izmit Bay, which also triggered a devastating tsunami.
Map showing the epicenter of the earthquake at Izmit Bay, which also triggered a devastating tsunami.

Tsunami of Izmit Bay, Turkey

On August 17, 1999 near the Izmit Bay, northwestern Turkey, an earthquake struck of 7.6 magnitudes on Richter scale. It lasted for almost 37 seconds, killing around 40,000 to 45,000 people and approximately half a million people were left homeless.

The city of Izmit was damaged badly. There was an increased in number of deaths the following winter.

The condition was very poor as the survivors were living in unprotected shelters and even on the street. 50,000 houses were to the highest degree damaged, 2,000 other buildings died down and 4,000 other buildings were badly damaged, 600,000 people were homeless.

Tsunami waves rushing into the Indonesian lands, during the most devastating natural disaster ever.
Tsunami waves rushing into the Indonesian lands, during the most devastating natural disaster ever.

Tsunami In The Indian Ocean

In December 2004 an earthquake of 9.15 magnitudes on Richter scale hit the Indian Ocean under the sea. Within hours, the coasts of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries, were overfloooded with waves, as high as 49 feet.

Over 310,000 people were killed in a dozen countries. This earthquake is now known as one of the most deadly disasters of modern history.

The people dead in this tsunami were more than eight times than in any other tsunami. More than one-third of the people dead were of children.

2004 Tsunami In Indonesia

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    • profile image

      cleeta 5 years ago

      im reaserching for tsunamis

    • profile image

      Steve 5 years ago

      I have been in one!!!! It's scary!!!!!!

    • profile image

      bob 6 years ago

      i just hope theres not another one soon

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      ashley 6 years ago

      wow that's scary

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      ally 6 years ago

      I was there!!! when it happened...

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      das 6 years ago

      yeah i know ill be scared

    • hassam profile image
      Author

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      I hope that too!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      I still have the memory of tsunami struck Aceh some years ago. I hope no more catastrophe hits this country (nor other parts of the world).