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The Five Biggest Tsunami's in American History

The Five Biggest Tsunami's in American History

The word "tsunami" comes from the Japanese words meaning "harbor wave." A tsunami is a series of waves that can strike miles inland, with heights measured in feet or meters. Tsunamis are known to have caused some of the worst natural disasters in history. Here are five of the most devastating tsunamis in US history:


Photo Credits: Alaska Earthquake Center


1. Lituya Bay, Alaska, July 10, 1958

The Alaskan tsunami of 1958 was one of the most powerful ever recorded. It began with a magnitude-seven earthquake that triggered a landslide into Lituya Bay. The ensuing wave reached heights of over 500 meters (over 1700 feet), destroying everything in its path and killing three people.

Photo Credits:


2. Olympic Coast, Washington, January 26, 1700

This massive tsunami struck the Pacific Northwest coast over 300 years ago, causing extensive damage and loss of life. Historical records suggest that the waves reached up to 100 meters (330 feet) high in some areas, wiping out coastal towns and villages.

Photo Credits: Earth Magazine


3. Hawaii, November 29, 1946

A tsunami caused by an undersea earthquake killed 159 people in Hawaii in 1946. The waves were up to 15 meters (50 feet) high when they hit the coast, destroying homes and businesses.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia


4. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, August 31, 1883

This tsunami was caused by a magnitude-seven earthquake off the Cape Hatteras coast. The waves reached up to 30 meters (100 feet) high in some areas, causing extensive damage and loss of life.


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5. Prince William Sound, Alaska, March 27, 1964

The most recent major US tsunami occurred in Alaska in 1964. This event was caused by an earthquake measuring magnitude-nine on the Richter scale – one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. The resulting tsunami killed 128 people and caused over $500 million in damage.


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