The largest tsunami in the world

The world’s biggest tsunamis ever. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

Tsunami is one of the worst cataclysms in the world. Large waves of the elements annually destroy the infrastructure of cities, causing huge economic losses and taking the lives of thousands of people. Unfortunately, it is impossible to prevent a tsunami, as it is affected by natural factors: earthquakes, volcanic activity and cyclones.

What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a natural phenomenon that produces high waves. They are often caused by undersea earthquakes, which are generated by sudden shifts of a section of the bottom or lithospheric plates. Thus, a tsunami affects the ocean from the bottom to its surface, thereby forming a movement of the entire water column.

Like earthquakes, tsunamis have their own intensity scale:

Score Description
1 A tsunami is faintly pronounced and virtually invisible. The height of the water on shore does not exceed the height of 1 m.
2 The maximum height of water on the shore is 1 m. This phenomenon is not dangerous and can flood only a small coast.
3 The height of water on the shore increases up to 2.5 m. In this case, the coast, light ships, port facilities may be affected.
4 The water rise increases up to 8 m. Such a tsunami may destroy small buildings, eject large vessels to the land, and flood the coast. Human casualties are possible.
5 The water rise can reach a mark of 23 meters. The waves cover not only the shore, but also the depth of the land. Thus, towns and cities are destroyed. Tsunamis of this intensity often cause significant damage not only to infrastructure, but also take human lives.
6 Such tsunamis have catastrophic consequences. The height of the water rise is more than 24 m. The coasts are seriously damaged, and whole cities can go under water. Human casualties are not excluded.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

The largest tsunamis in the world have left a terrible aftermath:

  • Thousands of citizens killed;
  • 100 kilometers off the coast, the land was filled with mud and debris;
  • homes, infrastructure, sometimes entire communities were destroyed;
  • people were left without water and food after the disaster, resulting in increased mortality and the spread of infectious diseases.

Top 10 biggest tsunamis

The appearance of earthquakes has always caused fear and dread among the inhabitants of the Earth, as this phenomenon has devastating consequences for the area, especially if the tremors are strong and accompanied by a tsunami. The largest tsunamis in the world have caused tremendous damage to cities and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people during their period of activity.

Tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake hit the Indonesian coast and generated a tsunami. The cause of the catastrophe was the collision of three lithospheric plates. The submarine earthquake became one of the largest in the history of the Indian Ocean with a magnitude of 9.3.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

The resulting tsunami struck the islands of Java and Sumatra and then moved to the Adaman and Nicobar Islands. The coast of Thailand, Sri Lanka, eastern India and the Maldives were also in the epicenter of the waves.

The Maldives suffered the least damage because the area was surrounded by coral reefs, which took on the power of the waves and reduced their energy. The main blow came to Indonesia, in particular to the islands of Sumatra and Similue.

According to researchers, the 2004 tsunami took the lives of 194,000 people, some of whom are considered missing. For this reason, the Southeast Asian tsunami ranks No. 1 in terms of casualties.

The 1964 Alaska tsunami

On March 28, 1964, a powerful earthquake of magnitude 9.1 was recorded in Prince William Sound. The height of the waves during the tsunami reached 68 m.

The cause of the cataclysm was an explosion under the strait, the power of which was equal to 1000 atomic bombs. The devastation covered an area of 130,000 km2 . Because of landslides, avalanches and rockslides on the territory of Alaska, British Columbia and Northern California roads, railroads, bridges and port facilities were destroyed. The resulting damage is estimated at $85 million.

The 1964 earthquake is considered to be the strongest on the territory of Alaska. As a result of the cataclysm suffered about 160 people, some of them have not yet been found.

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Lituya Bay Tsunami

On July 9, 1958, an earthquake struck the Lituya Bay area in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska. The tremors caused rocks, rocks, and ice to fall more than 700 meters into the bay.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

The earthquake measured 8.3 on the Richter scale. The powerful rockfall caused a tsunami to hit the gulf coast and almost completely washed away La Gaucia Spit.

The biggest tsunamis in the world cannot be compared to the case in Lituya Bay, where waves reached a height of 520 meters.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

This mark is considered the largest in the history of mankind. The tsunami killed 5 people and destroyed infrastructure.

Izu and Miyake Island Tsunamis

The largest tsunamis in the world are seen on the islands, as this area is most prone to underwater earthquakes.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

On January 9, 2005, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck eastern Japan. The earthquake generated a tsunami with waves reaching 10-50 m. It took half an hour for the wave to travel from one island to the next. According to experts, moving at this speed, even small waves would have been a threat to people.

Human casualties were avoided, as the meteorological services registered the underground activity in time and evacuated people to safe places. Despite the positive outcome for residents, the tsunami that occurred is considered one of the most powerful in Japan in the last 10 years.

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Severo-Kurilsk tsunami

Among the largest tsunamis in the world is the one that occurred on November 6, 1952 in the small town of Severo-Kurilsk, which had a population of about 7,500.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

At night, the residents of the village were awakened by 7-point tremors, which stopped after a few minutes. At that time there were no warning systems, so people did not even suspect the arrival of the elements. As a result of the earthquake, tsunami waves of 8-17 m covered the city. Cars, trees, house debris, and people were caught in the powerful maelstrom.

Estimates established the death toll of more than 1,500 people. Most could not be buried because the bodies were washed into the ocean.

Scientist Viktor Kaistrenko researched the phenomenon. According to him almost nothing has left of the town of Severo-Kurilsk, only the outskirts of the settlement have survived. Only a concrete gate and a monument to a Soviet pilot are seen in the outskirts of the town.

Tsunami in Alaska in 1957

On March 9, 1957, an earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in Alaska. As a result of the tremors, two tsunami waves (15 m and 8 m high) were formed.

The first wave of natural phenomenon touched some structures on Andrianov Spit. The second tsunami was stronger and reached Hawaii, where it destroyed two villages. Earthquake “woke up” a volcano on the island Umnak, which did not erupted for more than 200 years. During the activity of the elements, waves were also observed in California, Chile and Japan.

Damage from the tsunami was about $5 million. The catastrophe took the lives of more than 350 people.

Tsunami in Papua New Guinea

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

On July 17, 1998, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded on the coast of New Guinea. However, the tsunami was caused not by tremors but by an underwater landslide, which triggered 15-meter waves.

Two aftershocks with 20 minutes interval between them were registered in the area of the earthquake. Intensity of the earthquake was so strong, that the sea level in the town of Rabaul, which was 1000 km away from the epicenter of the event, rose by 10 centimeters.

The tsunami completely washed away 3 villages, more than 2000 victims were recorded in the rest of the territory, as well as 500 people missing. Severe destruction left 10,000 people homeless.

Tsunami in Chile

The Great Chilean earthquake occurred on May 23, 1960. According to seismologists, the magnitude of the main strike was 9.1 and the subsequent ones were 8.5 on the Richter scale. The epicenter of the disaster was near the city of Valdivia, but the tremors were felt by people 200,000 kilometers away.

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The earthquake generated a tsunami, which covered the coastal line of Chile with waves of 10 m high. It swept away several villages and coastal towns, about 20% of Chile’s industries were flooded and destroyed, more than 100,000 people were left homeless. The number of tsunami victims was 5,500 people.

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

February 28, 2010 in the Republic of Chile there was another powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.8. After half an hour on the coast of 10 nearby cities, as well as Japan, Australia and New Zealand was hit by a 2-meter tsunami wave. On the territory of Kamchatka (Russia) waves of 1 meter high were recorded.

Damage caused by the elements is estimated at 15 billion dollars. In addition to major devastation, the tsunami killed 5 people, another 1000 are considered missing and 2,000,000 townspeople were left homeless.

Tsunami in the Solomon Islands

On April 2, 2007 an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 was recorded in the South Pacific Ocean. The tremors formed at a depth of 10 km near the Solomon Islands. Information about a possible tsunami was disseminated in the coastal states. The Solomon Islands and the eastern part of the island of New Guinea were at risk.

A few hours after the earthquake, a tsunami wave of 2 meters high struck the coastline of the town of Guizo. As a result of the disaster 3 people were killed, many houses and buildings were destroyed. The island of Bougainville was seriously affected, the waves completely washed away two villages from its surroundings.

Telephone communication and power supply was disrupted in the affected area, the airport and the hospital were damaged. By the evening of April 2, the death toll had risen to 16 people and about 4,000 villagers were left homeless.

The next day, the earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 was repeated in the area of the island of Gatoka. A state of emergency was declared in the Solomon Islands, and people were evacuated. The total number of deaths as a result of the disaster rose to 30 people.

During the next days, the islands were experiencing bad weather, making it impossible for rescuers to conduct surveys of the water and coastline. One of the main problems was a lack of sources of drinking water and the ability to supply food.

Residents of the Western Province suffered from starvation and outbreaks of intestinal diseases, which began due to the lack of food and the poor quality of water used.

The official death toll from the cataclysm was 54. About 6,000 homes across 37 islands were damaged. Many witnesses of the disaster were psychologically traumatized, so for a long time they could not return to live back on the coast.

Tsunami in Japan

The largest tsunamis in the history of the world. Top 10, where, when, photos, video

An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck the eastern part of Honshu Island on March 12, 2011. The epicenter of the event was located 370 km from Tokyo, the capital of Japan.

After the strongest strike a series of aftershocks was observed, which consisted of 400 consecutive small seismic shocks. This earthquake is considered to be the strongest in the history of Japan.

The tremors generated a massive tsunami that spread throughout the Pacific Ocean. A state of emergency was declared in coastal areas of North and South America, and people were evacuated to safe areas.

The main blow came to the islands located in the Japanese archipelago. According to rescuers, the number of victims of the tsunami and the earthquake was 16,000, the fate of another 3,000 remains unknown.

The appearance of tsunamis has frightened islanders around the world for centuries. Large waves during the activity of the elements reach such a size that they wash away entire cities, leaving behind a bare earth. Since the XIX century, scientists have kept statistics of the most destructive phenomena. To date, there are more than 100 cases of tsunamis of varying magnitude on the coasts of the globe.

How high was the largest tsunami

I doubt there are people in the world who have not heard the word tsunami. People who live far from the water don’t encounter them, but coastal residents are in potential danger. But sometimes tsunamis that hit coastal areas indirectly affect even people who have never seen the sea. The genesis of “killer waves” is more complicated than it seems, and their speed and destructive power are astonishing. In this article I will tell you what tsunamis are and how they originate. I will also tell you how they are predicted and why it is not enough and people still die by the thousands. Well, and, of course, I will answer the most interesting question – what was the height of the biggest tsunami. I’m sure the answer will surprise a lot of people.

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Such a wave is not so fantastic, if you study history.

How waves are formed

First of all, it is worthwhile to understand the difference between a tsunami and those small waves that we love so much when we are at the seashore. The difference between the two types of waves is not just in size and height.

I remember hitting high waves on the beach a couple of times that didn’t seem harmless at all. The wave itself hit me with such force, as if I were falling flat into the water from a couple of meters high. When I was inside it, it swirled me around like a washing machine and even hit the bottom a couple of times. And when the mass of water started flowing back into the sea, it was very hard for me to resist the pressure. Be careful when the wave height at sea exceeds 50-60 centimeters. It is really dangerous!

These are all normal waves that are formed by an incoming wind that drives a stream of water. When the lower part of the wave brakes against the bottom near the shore, the upper part starts to grow, like a snowball. This way the wave gains strength until its crest collapses.

The wind blows toward the shore most of all at a time when the sand is the hottest, and above the water the air is cold enough. Because of the movement of the air masses, the wind appears, followed by the waves. Sometimes even those who know how to predict the weather cannot predict such winds.

Can waves come from the shore? Yes, they can, but it’s very rare. Even if there is a very strong wind blowing from the shore, it will not be able to create a wave. In the direction of its movement, the bottom will go down, not up. That is, there will be no second factor needed to form a wave.

How a tsunami differs from ordinary waves

The most important difference between a tsunami and ordinary waves is how they originate. Conventional waves are generated by the effects of wind. They are rarely as destructive as a tsunami, although they can damage coastal infrastructure. Generally, damage is limited to a few meters from the shore.

The highest waves occur at Nazare in Portugal . The height of the waves can reach 30 meters. But because of the peculiarities of the coast, it does not cause damage to homes located a couple of hundred meters from the water’s edge. That’s where surfers from all over the world come.

A tsunami does not originate close to the shore, but usually at a great distance from it. There are several causes of tsunamis. Among them are underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides. The latter, however, rarely result in a large tsunami. But it was one of the landslides that caused the highest tsunami in history.

This is what the waves look like in Nazar, Portugal.

About 85 percent of tsunamis are caused by underwater earthquakes. For example, the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan very hard was caused by an abrupt shift of one of the plates on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. This displacement caused the wave.

The word “tsunami” is formed by two characters that mean “bay, bay” and “wave” .

In the ocean, although tsunamis travel at several hundred kilometers per hour, people on ships may not even notice them. Closer to shore, when the depth becomes shallower, the tsunami begins to lose speed, dropping to 100-130 kilometers per hour, and gain height to several tens of meters.

What is the height of the highest tsunami in history?

It is hard to believe, but the highest tsunami in history was over 500 meters high (. ) and had a speed of about 160 km/h . This didn’t happen at the time of the dinosaurs, but just over half a century ago. To be exact, it was July 9, 1958 in Alaska. Only 5 people died from it.

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Few people know, but a lot of tsunamis happen in Alaska. And also in Kamchatka. But, as a rule, they are not so destructive and do not take thousands of lives.

Many argue about the phenomenon, and eyewitnesses give out some incoherent confusion. The height of the wave was measured by the nature of the damage to the plants on the slopes of the banks. There was no further solid evidence of this.

This tsunami was caused by a landslide. Millions of cubic meters of rocks and ice fell into the water from mountains about a kilometer high as a result of the earthquake. They caused a wave of great force. According to eyewitnesses, the glacier at the top of the mountain was just bouncing because the ground was shaking.

How to know if a tsunami is coming

A sure sign that a tsunami is about to come to shore is a low tide. If the water has retreated a few meters from the shore and exposed the bottom for no apparent reason, it is worth straining. If the tide is over 100 meters, it is necessary to run in the opposite direction to the water. It is better to choose elevated areas, but you still need to run as far as possible. You will have literally a few minutes to escape. In many places where there is a risk of this natural phenomenon, you can find signs on the streets in the direction in which to run.

Such signs can be found where there is a tsunami threat. This one in particular is set up in Patong, Thailand.

Usually, the more water left the shore, the higher the wave will be. But tsunamis are not always accompanied by a low tide. Sometimes they come without the water receding.

Another sure sign that it is worth saving is the shuddering of the ground. It is not always felt during an underwater earthquake, but if it is there, it is definitely better to get away from the shore. In tsunami-hazardous regions, this is not even a recommendation, but a rule.

Closed bays are the least affected by tsunamis, and areas with very flat shores are the most affected.

Tsunamis most often form in the Pacific Ocean. But contrary to popular belief, they can form in other places, including seas and even rivers. If the wave was not formed by the wind near the shore, but by a physical impact in deep water, it would be a tsunami.

Can humans cause tsunamis

Man can not only theoretically create artificial tsunamis, but has done so. It became possible at the end of the last century, after the creation of the atomic bomb. The Americans have repeatedly tested such ways of causing a tsunami.

True, the effectiveness in this case was not so great. Underwater explosions to cause a tsunami are produced at a depth of about 60 meters. In this case, within a couple of kilometers of the explosion, the height of the wave reaches several tens of meters, but then it decreases very much.

An underwater nuclear explosion cannot cause a very large tsunami.

This is because the explosion does not displace water, as is the case with a sudden change in the landscape of the seabed or a meteorite fall. This is why underwater explosions are not as effective and are more of a water splash. Nevertheless, work in this direction is ongoing and many countries have their own developments in this direction. For example, Russia has an underwater drone capable of carrying an atomic charge. Potentially, it can be used for underwater explosion and tsunami calling.

However, underwater nuclear tests are forbidden. All research in this direction is theoretical.

And some politicians are reaching for experiments. For example, Donald Trump proposes to fight hurricanes with nuclear bombs

How do they predict tsunamis?

The main way to predict tsunamis is to analyze seismic activity. Simply put, if there is a shake somewhere, it can cause a wave to come.

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Small earthquakes of low severity don’t require a response. If the severity reaches 7, a tsunami warning follows in all regions where it could potentially arrive. Given the speed of the waves in the ocean, there is usually not more than a couple of tens of minutes to take action. There are cases, however, when a second wave arrives an hour after the first.

It is a common misconception that the magnitude of an earthquake is measured in points, which we are told. Scores measure the intensity of the tremors (pulses). Magnitude is the amount of energy released by an earthquake

There is also a system of factual tsunami predictions. In this case, the arrival of the wave is predicted after it has already arrived. That is, if the wave is traveling across the ocean and demolishes an island in its path, it is clear that it will reach areas further along its route. Such tsunamis are called teletsunamis.

Intermediate checks are sensors that float in the oceans in the form of buoys in the most dangerous places. All of these methods combined make it possible to predict the arrival of the waves at least somehow. This usually saves thousands of lives.

Which tsunami killed the most people

This is what a tsunami in Southeast Asia looked like in 2004.

The deadliest tsunami, struck Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004. It originated in the Indian Ocean and killed approximately 240,000 people .

Indonesia suffered the greatest number of casualties, approximately 180,000 people. The island of Sri Lanka followed with approximately 37,000 deaths. Relatively few people were killed in Thailand, about 5,000. The tsunami also caused several thousand deaths in other regions. The wave even reached Somalia. This is an example of a teletsunami.

The most destructive tsunami

While the tsunami in Southeast Asia killed over 240,000 people, there were very few deaths in Japan. Nevertheless, the death toll was still about 15,000, and about 9,000 more were missing. This happened on March 11, 2011. The earthquake caused a wave 40 meters high in the Pacific Ocean (300 km off the coast), which swept away everything in its path. Even though the number of casualties was not the highest in history, the destruction was very severe. Usually underwater tremors are weakly felt on shore, but this time the buildings in Tokyo shook from the shaking of the ground.

The death toll was 15 times lower than in 2004. Thanks to the preparedness of the population. But the cities were severely destroyed. In addition, the earthquake damaged the cooling system of the first three units of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This led to a meltdown of the core and successive explosions. Why it was necessary to build such a facility on the coast in a tsunami-hazardous region is a separate question. But in fact, the victims of the tsunami may include the liquidators of the accident and the internally displaced people.

This is what the tsunami in Japan looked like in 2011.

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Should we be afraid of a tsunami?

There can only be one answer to this question. Tsunamis are to be feared! But you should not turn it into paranoia and cancel the beach vacation. And it is necessary to be rescued in case of the warning.

As soon as you see the tide, run right away.

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Water only seems soft and harmless, but the volume of a 1×1 meter cube of seawater weighs about a ton (about the weight of a passenger car). A tsunami brings hundreds of millions of tons of water at over 100 km/h. Such a wave can kill on first contact. There is almost no chance of surviving if you stay on the shore. That is why you must run as far as possible from the shore as soon as you hear a warning or see a sharp tide. It is desirable to choose an elevated position. This is the only way to save your life.

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