1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake

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1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake
Tsunami large.jpg
Fleeing an approaching tsunami in Hilo, Hawai'i
1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake is located in Alaska
1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake
Date 1 April 1946 (1946-04)
Origin time 12:28 (UTC)
Magnitude 8.1 Mw [1]
Depth 25 kilometers (16 mi)
Epicenter 52°48′N 163°30′W / 52.8°N 163.5°W / 52.8; -163.5Coordinates: 52°48′N 163°30′W / 52.8°N 163.5°W / 52.8; -163.5
Areas affected Hawaii, Alaska
United States
Max. intensity VI (Strong)
Tsunami Yes
Casualties 165

The 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred near the Aleutian Islands, Alaska on April 1. The shock had a moment magnitude of 8.1 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI (Strong). It resulted in 165 casualties (159 people on Hawaii and six in Alaska) and over $26 million in damage. The event triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami with multiple destructive waves at heights ranging from 45–130 ft. The tsunami obliterated the Scotch Cap Lighthouse on Unimak Island, Alaska among others, and killed all five lighthouse keepers. The wave reached Kauai 4.5 hours after the quake, and Hilo 4.9 hours later.

The tsunami was unusually powerful for the size of the earthquake. The event was classified as a tsunami earthquake due to the discrepancy between the size of the tsunami and the relatively low surface wave magnitude.[2] The large-scale destruction prompted the creation of the Seismic Sea Wave Warning System, which later became the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in 1949.[3]

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