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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami History

The December 26th, 2004 tsunami looks like it is the most deadly in recorded history. The history of tsunamis that have caused wide scale destruction include:

• December 26, 2004: Earthquake measuring at least 9 on the Richter scale occurs to the south of Nicobar Island in the Indian ocean. At least 135,000 people are killed across Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa.
• July 17, 1998: At least 2,200 people killed in Papua New Guinea after an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude generated a huge tsunami.
• August 23, 1976: South-west Philippines hit by tsunami that killed around 8,000.
• March 27, 1964: An earthquake in Alaska generated a 67 meter high tsunami that travelled at more than 620 kph. One hundred and twenty people killed, including 10 in northern California.
• May 22, 1960: Huge earthquake in Chile, at 8.6, creates a tsunami with a wave of up to 25 metres. Around 1,500 people killed in both Chile and Hawaii.
• June 15, 1896: A tsunami hits the east coast of Japan, killing at least 27,000.
• August 27, 1883: The Krakatoa volcano explosion destroyed the island, but a tsunami generated by the explosion killed more than 36,000 people.
• November 1, 1755: After an earthquake that destroyed Lisbon in Portugal, many people took refuge by boat. A tsunami followed which, with local fires, killed from 60,000 to 70,000 people.
• 1703: A tsunami hits Awa, Japan kills 100,000. The most deadly tsunami prior to 2004.

• The Biggest Wave:
On July 9, 1958 a HUGE earthquake triggered a HUGE landslide at the head of Lituya Bay, Alaska. The first (and biggest) wave measured an incredible 1,720 feet (524m) high.

• To put the Dec. 26, 2004 Tsunami in perspective, here is the historical record of earthquake disasters.

The deadliest earthquakes of the past century
1976 China, Tangshan 255,000 7.5
1927 China, near Xining 200,000 na
1920 China, Gansu 200,000 8.6
1923 Japan, Kwanto 143,000 na
1948 Turkmenistan 110,000 7.3
1908 Italy, Messina 70-100,000 7.2
1932 China, Gansu 70,000 7.6
1935 Pakistan, Quetta 30-60,000 7.5
1990 Iran, Gilan 35,000 7.7
2003 Iran, Bam 31,000 6.8

• List of other Major Natural Disasters

3.7 million...flood........China.....1931

sources: World Almanac, U.S. Geological Survey, Associated Press

Destructive tsunami history
The Biggest Wave [extremescience.com]
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake [Wikipedia.org]
Dec. 26, 2004 Sumatra Tsunami animation [shows movement of wave through Indian Ocean]

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