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Biggest Tsunami Countdown

This is a countdown of the five biggest

tsunami waves, in recorded history. Each
tsunami has been judged on a scale of the
destruction they caused, and the number of
lives lost.
On May 22, 1960, the strongest magnitude earthquake in recorded
history, occurred off the coast of South Central Chile. Measuring 9.5
on the Richter scale, it triggered a tsunami 30 feet high.
Nearly fifteen minutes after the earthquake, the tsunami first hit land,
flooding more than 500 miles of the Chilean coast. The estimated cost
was more than $550 million (1960 dollars), and loss of life was
estimated at 2,000.
The waves hit Hilo, Hawaii, 15 hours later, killing 61 people and
badly injuring 282 others.
22 hours later it reached Japan and 122 Japanese people lost their lives
to the torrential water.
By the time the Pacific-wide tsunami had subsided, the total fatalities
is thought to have been as high as 3,000 lives lost.
On the early morning of December 28, 1908, the Italian city of
Messina awoke to the deadliest earthquake in European
history. The 7.2 magnitude quake shook for nearly 30
seconds, toppling several story buildings and burying alive
it's occupants. Minutes later, the tsunami came, measuring
somewhere between 20 to 40 feet high. The waves were
gradually followed by smaller ones, until the water finally
When it was over, the city of Messina, which only had a
population of 150,000, had been entirely destroyed, along
with the nearby city of Reggio di Calabria, and other
outlying areas. It is estimated that the combined earthquake
and tsunami killed almost 100,000 people, that fateful
December morning.
At 9:30, on the morning of All Saints Day, the Portuguese city of Lisbon
was rocked with an estimated 9 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter
was west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent, located in the Atlantic Ocean.
Three earthquake jolts which lasted a combined time of ten minutes,
created large cracks in the earth up to 16 feet apart, tearing open the
heart of Lisbon.

Nearly 30 minutes after the earthquake, a destructive tsunami hit the

shores of Portugal, and rushed up the Tagus River. Two more tsunami
waves followed, as people were swept out to sea, laying the land bare.
In some places, the waves reached as high as 98 feet, (that's 30 meters

The destruction was almost complete. In Lisbon, eighty-five percent of

its buildings had been destroyed, with fires that continued to rage for
days. Over 100,000 people perished, forever changing the history of
Europe and the rest of the world.
On August 27, 1883, one of the largest volcano eruptions in history, set
off a devastating series of tsunamis. The sound of the volcanic explosions
were felt over two and a half thousand miles

The Krakatau event registered a 6 on the VEI (Volcanic Explosivity

Index), which is a scale devised to measure the relative size of an
explosive eruption. A VEI 6 is described as "colossal," having a plume
height less than approx. fifteen miles (twenty-five kilometers), and
ejecting a volume less than two hundred and thirty-eight miles of tephra.

When a caldera on Krakatau Island measuring 4.3 miles (seven

kilometers), collapsed during the 1883 eruption, it created tsunamis that
crashed into the Sumatra and Java coastlines of Indonesia. Some waves
reached as high as one hundred and forty feet (forty meters), and were
felt over four thousand miles away (seven thousand kilometers). One
hundred and sixty-five villages were wiped out, killing over 36,000
On the morning after Christmas, a 9.15 magnitude
undersea earthquake triggered a series of events
that would forever change the way we looked at
the water. Within hours of the earthquake, the
coasts of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand,
and other countries, were deluged with waves,
some as high as 49 feet.

With over 310,000 people killed in a dozen

countries, it has become known as one of the most
deadliest disasters of modern history.
Although the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake on December 26, 2004
resulted in perhaps the most devastating tsunami ever recorded, the
height of the wave was about 100 feet, far from the largest.
On July 09, 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska an earthquake measuring 8.3
on the Richter scale resulted in 40 million cubic meters of rock to
fall into the sea.
As the wave swept through Lituya Bay it was forced to rise up,
reaching a height of 1,720 feet or 40 feet short of a third of a mile.
Although the hillsides in the bay were devastated, the damage was
very localized and as Lituya Bay is very remote, there were very few
The Lituya Bay tsunami was labeled a mega-tsunami, but it was
relatively very small compared to what would happen if the big one
The island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands is in danger of
collapsing into the sea and if it does happen it will create a true