Most Damaging Tsunamis

  • Lisbon Earthquake

    Lisbon Earthquake
    In 1755, at 9:40 a.m. local time, on November 1, 1755, a magnitude nine earthquake struck in Portugal. This produced a massive tsunami, which followed with multiple fires. It killed 20,000 people in its path. These waves crossed the Atlantic Ocean and amplified to heights of one meter or more. It traveled 3,790 miles in ten hours.
  • Krakatoa Eruption

    Krakatoa Eruption
    On August 26, 1883, there was a violent explosion of the Krakatoa volcano in the Sundra Strait between Java and Sumatra. It caused the top of the volcano to collapse into the ocean triggering a giant tsunami more than 35 meters high. It destroyed 165 villages and killed more than 36,000 people. Over 70% of the island was destroyed as the wave hurled heavy coral rocks ashore.
  • Aleutian Earthquake

    Aleutian Earthquake
    On April 1, 1946, an earthquake with a magnitude 8.1 in Alaska produced a tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands, which killed 160 people. It created extensive destruction since Hawaii received warning too late. The cities entire waterfront was gone. Washington had waves of five feet high, while Oregon and California received waves of 9-10 feet high. These waves damaged Washington's boats in the docks.
  • Great Chilean Earthquake

    Great Chilean Earthquake
    On May 22, 1960, an earthquake with a magnitude 9.5 in Chile triggered a tsunami that killed 5,000 people total, 61 in Hawaii after traveling 15 hours across the Pacific Ocean. It remains the largest earthquake ever in history. Two million people were left homeless. There were 3,00 injured in the tsunami. After it struck Chile, there was also a tsunami in Japan 22 hours later with waves about 18 feet high.
  • Good Friday Earthquake

    Good Friday Earthquake
    At 5:36 p.m. local time, on March 27, 1964 an earthquake with a magnitude 9.2 in Alaska generated a deadly tsunami that killed 130 people in Alaska and California. It started 25 kilometers below the surface. It is the second largest earthquake ever. It was caused when the Pacific plate lurched north under the North American plate. It lasted 4.5 minutes and was the most powerful earthquake.
  • Hokkaido Earthquake

    Hokkaido Earthquake
    On July 12, 1993, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 in the sea of Japan generated a tsunami that killed 239 people. On the Okushin Island the tsunami killed 139 people and destroyed 558 homes. There was $600 million dollars in property damage. It took two minutes after the earthquake for the tsunami to strike. The waves damaged gas lines, fuel storage containers, and started enormous fires.
  • Papua New Guinea Quake

    Papua New Guinea Quake
    At 5:49 p.m. local time, on July 17, 1998, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 in Papua New Guinea. A submarine landslide was triggered that produced a tsunami that killed more than 2,100 people. There were three giant waves, which devastated entire villages of Sissano, Warapu, Arop, and Malomo. It injured 1,000 people and displaced 10,000 people.
  • Sumatra Earthquake

    Sumatra Earthquake
    At 7:59 a.m. local time, on December 26, 2004, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 in Indonesia triggered a tsunami reaching heights of 9 meters. It reached out across the Indian Ocean, even devastating areas as far as East Africa. It killed at least 225,000 people across dozens of countries. Tens of thousands were reported missing. The farmlands and fishing grounds were destroyed and filled with debris or bodies. Many tourists were dead or missing as well.
  • Samoa Earthquake

    Samoa Earthquake
    At 1:48 p.m. local time, on September 29, 2009, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 occurred in the Southern Pacific ocean adjacent to the Kermadec-tunga subduction zone. It triggered a tsunami with waves more than 15 meters high. The death toll was 160 people and many were reported missing. 3,000 people were left homeless on the beach of Sau Sau, which was left flattened. The first wave arrived twenty minutes after the earthquake, along with numerous landslides.
  • Chile Earthquake

    Chile Earthquake
    At 3:34 a.m. local time, on February 27, 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 in Chile lasted 3 minutes. It occurred off the coast of central Chile. It triggered a tsunami, which killed 500 people. the epicenter was 200 miles southwest of Chile's capitol. The focus was 35 kilometers down and occurred on the fault separating the South American plate from subducting Nazca plate. The following week had hundreds of aftershocks, the earthquake shortened the day by a microsecond.
  • Tohoku Earthquake

    Tohoku Earthquake
    At 2:46 p.m. local time, on March 11, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 triggered a tsunami in Japan. It instigated a major nuclear accident at a station along the coast. The epicenter was 80 miles east of the city of Sendai. The focus was 18.6 miles down. It was caused by the rupture of a stretch of a subduction zone associated with the Eurasian and Pacific plates. Many aftershocks followed with magnitudes of a 7.0 or more. The wave was 33 feet high and went 6 miles inland.