Timelines :: Tsunamis

tsunami-tlA sampling of the biggest, most destructive and deadliest tsunamis on record.

Nov. 1, 1755
After a colossal earthquake destroyed Lisbon, Portugal and rocked much of Europe, people took refuge by boat. A tsunami ensued, as did great fires. Altogether, the event killed more than 60,000 people.

Aug. 27, 1883
Eruptions from the Krakatoa volcano fueled a tsunami that drowned 36,000 people in the Indonesian Islands of western Java and southern Sumatra. The strength of the waves pushed coral blocks as large as 600 tons onto the shore.

June 15, 1896
Waves as high as 100 feet (30 meters), spawned by an earthquake, swept the east coast of Japan. Some 27,000 people died.

April 1, 1946
The April Fools tsunami, triggered by an earthquake in Alaska, killed 159 people, mostly in Hawaii.

July 9, 1958
Regarded as the largest recorded in modern times, the tsunami in Lituya Bay, Alaska was caused by a landslide triggered by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake. Waves reached a height of 1,720 feet (576 meters) in the bay, but because the area is relatively isolated and in a unique geologic setting the tsunami did not cause much damage elsewhere. It sank a single boat, killing two fishermen.

May 22, 1960
The largest recorded earthquake, magnitude 8.6 in Chile, created a tsunami that hit the Chilean coast within 15 minutes. The surge, up to 75 feet (25 meters) high, killed an estimated 1,500 people in Chile and Hawaii.

March 27, 1964
The Alaskan Good Friday earthquake, magnitude between 8.4, spawned a 201-foot (67-meter) tsunami in the Valdez Inlet. It traveled at over 400 mph, killing more than 120 people. Ten of the deaths occurred in Crescent City, in northern California, which saw waves as high as 20 feet (6.3 meters).

Aug. 23, 1976
A tsunami in the southwest Philippines killed 8,000 on the heels of an earthquake.

July 17, 1998
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake generated a tsunami in Papua New Guinea that quickly killed 2,200.

Dec. 26, 2004
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia spawned a tsunami that killed 240,000 people. It easy stands as history’s most deadly tsunami.

Sept 29 2009
An earthquake measuring 8.0 struck in the Pacific ocean, near the Samoan islands, triggering a tsunami which killed over 189 people and caused widespread destruction.

Mar 11 2011
A record 9.0 earthquake struck of the eastern coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed 27,000+ people.

Feb 06, 2013
A 8.0 earthquake hit off the coast of the pacific ocean’s Solomon Islands archipelago triggering a local Tsunami that left dozens people were injured on the islands and at least 13 people were killed.

Sep 16, 2015 
A quake measuring 8.3 struck the west coast of Chile, causing a tsunami up to 16 feet (4.88 meters) high along the Chilean coast. Sources: NOAA, USGS, Humboldt State University

23 December 2018
It was confirmed via satellite data and helicopter footage that the southwest sector of the Anak Krakatau had collapsed which triggered the tsunami and the main conduit is now erupting from underwater producing Surtseyan-style activity. The Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management reported 1,300 deaths and 4,500 injuries.