List of tsunamis

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A tsunami hitting a coastline

This article lists notable tsunamis, which are sorted by the date and location that the tsunami occurred.

Because of seismic and volcanic activity associated with tectonic plate boundaries along the Pacific Ring of Fire, tsunamis occur most frequently in the Pacific Ocean,[1] but are a worldwide natural phenomenon. They are possible wherever large bodies of water are found, including inland lakes, where they can be caused by landslides and glacier calving. Very small tsunamis, non-destructive and undetectable without specialized equipment, occur frequently as a result of minor earthquakes and other events.

Around 1600 BC, a tsunami caused by the eruption of Thira devastated the Minoan civilization on Crete and related cultures in the Cyclades, as well as in areas on the Greek mainland facing the eruption, such as the Argolid.

The oldest recorded tsunami occurred in 479 BC. It destroyed a Persian army that was attacking the town of Potidaea in Greece.[2]

As early as 426 BC, the Greek historian Thucydides inquired in his book History of the Peloponnesian War (3.89.1–6) about the causes of tsunamis. He argued that such events could only be explained as a consequence of ocean earthquakes, and could see no other possible causes.[3]


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
≈1.4 Ma Molokai, Hawaii East Molokai Volcano Landslide One-third of the East Molokai volcano collapsed into the Pacific Ocean, generating a tsunami with an estimated local height of 2,000 feet (610 m). The wave traveled as far as California and Mexico.[4][5][6]
≈9.91–9.29 ka Dor, Israel Unknown A mega-tsunami had a run of at least 16 metres (52 ft) and traveled between 1.5 and 3.5 km (0.9 and 2.2 mi) inland from the ancient Eastern Mediterranean coast.[7]
≈7000–6000 BC Lisbon, Portugal Unknown A series of giant rocks and cobblestones have been found 14 metres (46 ft) above mean sea level near Guincho Beach.[8]
≈6225–6170 BC Norwegian Sea Storegga Slide Landslide The Storegga Slides, 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of the coast of Møre in the Norwegian Sea, triggered a large tsunami in the North Atlantic Ocean. The collapse involved around 290 kilometres (180 mi) of coastal shelf, and a total volume of 3,500 km3 (840 cu mi) of debris.[9] Based on carbon dating of plant material in the sediment deposited by the tsunami, the latest incident occurred around 6225–6170 BC.[10][11] In Scotland, traces of the tsunami have been found in sediments from Montrose Basin, the Firth of Forth, up to 80 kilometres (50 mi) inland and 4 metres (13 ft) above current normal tide levels.
5,500 BP Northern Isles Garth tsunami Unknown The tsunami may have been responsible for contemporary mass burials.[12]
≈1600 BC Santorini, Greece Minoan eruption Volcanic eruption The volcanic eruption in Santorini, Greece is supposed to have caused serious damage to the cities around it, most notably the Minoan civilization on Crete. A tsunami is supposed to be the factor that caused the most damage.

Before 1001 CE[edit]

Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
479 BC Potidaea, Greece 479 BC Potidaea earthquake The oldest recorded tsunami in history.[2] During the Persian siege of the maritime city of Potidaea, Greece, Herodotus reports how Persian attackers attempting to take advantage of an unusual retreat of the water were suddenly surprised by "a great tide, higher, as the locals say, than any one of many that had been before". Herodotus attributes the cause of the flash flood to Poseidon's wrath.[13]
426 BC Malian Gulf, Greece 426 BC Malian Gulf tsunami In the summer of 426 BC, a tsunami struck the gulf between the northwestern tip of Euboea and Lamia.[14] The Greek historian Thucydides (3.89.1–6) described how the tsunami and a series of earthquakes affected the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) and, for the first time, associated earthquakes with waves in terms of cause and effect.[15]
373 BC Helike, Greece Earthquake An earthquake and a tsunami destroyed the prosperous Greek city of Helike, 2 km (1.25 mi) from the sea. The fate of the city, which remained permanently submerged, was often commented on by ancient writers[16] and may have inspired contemporary Plato to create the myth of Atlantis.
60 BC Portugal and Galicia Earthquake An earthquake of intensity IX and an estimated magnitude of 6.7 caused a tsunami on the coasts of Portugal and Galicia.[17] Little else is known due to the paucity of records of Roman possession of the Iberian Peninsula.
79 CE Gulf of Naples, Italy Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD Volcanic eruption Pliny the Younger witnessed a smaller tsunami in the Bay of Naples during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius between the summer and fall of 79 AD.[18]
115 CE Caesarea, Israel 115 Antioch earthquake Earthquake Underwater geoarchaeological excavations on the shallow shelf (around 10 m depth) at Caesarea, Israel, documented a tsunami hitting the ancient port. Talmudic sources record a tsunami on 13 December 115 AD that affected Caesarea and Yavneh. The tsunami was likely triggered by an earthquake that destroyed Antioch, and was generated somewhere along the Cyprian Arch fault system.[19]
262 CE Southwest Anatolia (Turkey) 262 Southwest Anatolia earthquake Earthquake Many cities were inundated by the sea, with cities in Roman Asia reporting the worst tsunami damage. In many places fissures appeared in the earth and filled with water; in others, towns were inundated by the sea.[20][21][22]
365 CE Alexandria, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean 365 Crete earthquake Earthquake On the morning of 21 July 365 AD, an earthquake triggered a tsunami more than 100 feet (30 m) high, devastating Alexandria and the eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, killing thousands, and throwing ships nearly two miles inland.[23][24] This tsunami also devastated many large cities in what is now Libya and Tunisia. The anniversary of the disaster was still commemorated annually in the late 6th century in Alexandria as a "day of horror."[25]

Researchers at the University of Cambridge recently carbon dated corals off the coast of Crete that were raised 10 metres and out of the water during the earthquake, indicating that the tsunami was generated by an earthquake on a pronounced fault in the Hellenic Trench. Scientists estimate that such an uplift is likely to only occur once every 5,000 years; however, the other segments of the fault could slip on a similar scale every 800 years or so.[26]

551 CE Lebanese Coast 551 Beirut earthquake Earthquake The earthquake of 9 July 551 AD was one of the largest seismic events in and around Lebanon during the Byzantine period. The earthquake was associated with a tsunami along the Lebanese coast and a local landslide near Al-Batron. A large fire in Beirut also continued for almost two months.[27]
684 CE Nankai, Japan 684 Hakuhō earthquake, Nankai earthquake Earthquake The first recorded tsunami in Japan struck on 29 November 684 AD off the coast of the Kii, Shikoku, and Awaji region. The earthquake, estimated at a magnitude of 8.4,[17] was followed by a large tsunami, but there are no estimates of the number of deaths.[28] From then on, the Japanese would keep meticulous records of tsunamis. [29][citation needed]
869 CE Sanriku, Japan 869 Jōgan earthquake Earthquake The Sanriku region was hit by a large tsunami on 9 July 869 AD, causing floods to spread 4 km (2.5 mi) inland from the coast. Tagajō was destroyed, with an estimated 1,000 casualties.
887 CE Nankai, Japan 887 Ninna Nankai earthquake Earthquake On 26 August 887 AD there was a strong commotion in the Kyoto region, causing great destruction. A tsunami inundated the coastal region and some people died. The coast of Settsu Province (Osaka Prefecture) suffered especially, and the tsunami was also observed on the coast of the Sea of Hyūga (Miyazaki Prefecture).[17]

1000–1700 CE[edit]

Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
1033 Jordan Valley, Levant 1033 Jordan Rift Valley earthquake Earthquake On 5 December 1033 a large earthquake struck along the Dead Sea Transform, causing extreme devastation. At least 70,000 killed. Several killed by a moderate tsunami.[30][31]
1169 Sicily, Italy 1169 Sicily earthquake Earthquake On 4 February 1169 a tsunami affected most of the Ionian coast of Sicily[32]
1202 Eastern Mediterranean 1202 Syria earthquake Earthquake On 20 May 1202 a tsunami probably associated with this event was observed in eastern Cyprus and along the Syrian and Lebanese coasts.[33][34]
1293 Kamakura, Japan 1293 Kamakura earthquake Earthquake On 27 May 1293, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake and tsunami hit Kamakura, then the de facto capital of Japan, killing 23,000 in the resulting fires.
1303 Eastern Mediterranean 1303 Crete earthquake Earthquake A team from Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, has found evidence of five tsunamis hitting Greece in the last 2000 years. "Most were small and local, but on August 8, 1303 a larger one hit Crete, Rhodes, Alexandria and Acre in Israel."[35]
1343 Gulf of Naples, Italy 1343 Naples tsunami Landslide (possibly volcanic) A 2019 study attributes the event to a massive submarine landslide caused by the collapse of the flank of the Stromboli volcano on 25 November 1343.[36]
1361 Nankai, Japan 1361 Shōhei earthquake Earthquake On 3 August 1361, during the Shōhei era, an 8.4 earthquake struck Nankaidō, followed by a tsunami. A total of 660 deaths were reported. The earthquake struck Awa, Settsu, Kii, Yamato and Awaji Provinces provinces (Tokushima, Osaka, Wakayama and Nara Prefectures and Awaji Island). A tsunami hit Awa and Tosa Provinces (Tokushima and Kōchi Prefectures), in Kii Strait and in Osaka Bay. The hot spring of Yunomine, Kii (Tanabe, Wakayama) stopped. The port of Yuki, Awa (Minami, Tokushima) was destroyed and more than 1,700 houses were razed.
1420 Caldera, Chile 1420 Caldera earthquake Earthquake On 1 September 1420, a huge earthquake shook what is now the Atacama Region of Chile. Landslides occurred along the coast and tsunamis affected not only Chile but also Hawaii and Japan.[37][38]
1498 Nankai, Japan 1498 Meiō earthquake Earthquake On 20 September 1498, during the Meiō era, a 7.5 earthquake occurred. The ports of Kii Province (Wakayama Prefecture) were damaged by a tsunami of several meters in height. Between 30 and 40 thousand deaths were estimated.[17][39] The building around the great Buddha of Kamakura (altitude 7 m (23 ft)) was swept away by the tsunami.[40]
1531 Lisbon, Portugal 1531 Lisbon earthquake Earthquake The earthquake of 26 January 1531 was accompanied by a tsunami in the Tagus River that destroyed ships in the port of Lisbon.
1541 Nueva Cadiz, Venezuela Earthquake In 1528, Cristóbal Guerra founded Nueva Cádiz on the island of Cubagua, the first Spanish settlement in Venezuela. Nueva Cádiz, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, may have been destroyed by an earthquake followed by tsunami on 25 December 1541; it could also have been a major hurricane.[41] The ruins were declared a National Monument of Venezuela in 1979.
1585 Aleutian Islands, Alaska 1585 Aleutian Islands earthquake Earthquake On 11 June 1585, a moderate tsunami struck the Japanese coast of Sanriku. At the same time, several native Hawaiians died after their settlements were hit by a tsunami-like event described in oral traditions. Evidence of paleotsunami was also found in the Hawaiian Islands corresponding to a large tsunami in the 16th century. Modelling of a magnitude 9.25 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands matched descriptions and geological evidence in Japan and Hawaii.[42]
1586 Honshu, Japan 1586 Tenshō earthquake Earthquake A magnitude 7.9 earthquakes struck central Honshu on 18 January 1586.[17] The earthquake triggered tsunami waves in Lake Biwa, Wakasa Bay and Ise Bay, destroying villages and drowning residents. Waves of up to 5 metres (16 ft) were estimated.[43] The events killed 8,000 people.
1605 Nankai, Japan 1605 Keichō earthquake Earthquake On 3 February 1605, in the Keichō era, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. A tsunami with a known maximum height of 30 m (98 ft) was observed from the Bōsō Peninsula to the eastern part of Kyushu Island. The eastern part of the Bōsō Peninsula, Edo Bay (Tokyo Bay), Sagami and Tōtōmi Provinces (Kanagawa and Shizuoka Prefectures), and the southeastern coast of Tosa Province (Kōchi Prefecture) suffered particularly severely.[17] 700 houses (41%) in Hiro, Kii (Hirogawa, Wakayama) were razed and 3,600 people drowned in Shishikui, Awa (Kaiyō, Tokushima) area. Wave heights reached 5 to 6 metres (16 to 20 ft) in Kannoura, Tosa (Tōyō, Kōchi) and 8 to 10 metres (26 to 33 ft) in Sakihama, Tosa (Muroto, Kōchi). 350 drowned in Kannoura and 60 at Sakihama. In total more than 5,000 drowned.
1674 Banda Sea, Indonesia 1674 Ambon earthquake and megatsunami Earthquake On 17 February 1674, an earthquake triggered a landslide that generated waves of up to 100 metres (328 ft) along the coast of Ambon Island, killing more than 2,000.
1677 Bōsō Peninsula, Japan 1677 Bōsō earthquake Earthquake On 4 November 1677, a low-intensity earthquake was felt in the area around the Bōsō Peninsula, but was followed by a large tsunami, which killed an estimated 569 people.[44]
1693 Sicily 1693 Sicily earthquake Earthquake A major earthquake on 9 January 1693 was followed on 11 January 1693 by the most powerful earthquake in Italian history. The ensuing tsunami devastated the Ionian Sea coast and the Strait of Messina. It is unclear whether the tsunami was caused directly by the earthquake or by a large underwater landslide triggered by the event.


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
1700 Pacific Northwest, U.S. and Canada 1700 Cascadia earthquake Earthquake On 26 January 1700, the Cascadia earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 9, ruptured the Cascadia subduction zone (C SZ) from Vancouver Island to California, and triggered a massive tsunami recorded in Japan and by the oral traditions of indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The wave caught the Japanese off guard, not knowing its origin, and was explained in the book, The Orphan Tsunami.[45]
1707 Nankai, Japan 1707 Hōei earthquake Earthquake On 28 October 1707, during the Hōei era, an 8.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami up to 10 meters (33 feet) high[46] hit Tosa Province (Kōchi Prefecture). More than 29,000 houses were destroyed, causing around 30,000 deaths. In Tosa, 11,170 houses were razed to the ground, and 18,441 people drowned. Some 700 drowned and 603 houses were razed to the ground in Osaka. The hot springs of Yunomine, Kii (Tanabe, Wakayama), Sanji, Ryujin, Kii (Tanabe, Wakayama) Kanayana (Shirahama, Wakayama) and Dōgo, Iyo (Matsuyama, Ehime) stopped flowing.[17]
1731 Storfjorden, Norway Storfjorden Landslide On 8 January 1731, a landslide in the Storfjorden off Stranda caused a tsunami up to 100 meters (328 ft) high, killing 17 people.[47]
1741 Western Oshima, Japan 1741 eruption of Oshima–Ōshima and the Kampo tsunami Volcano On 29 August 1741, the western side of the Oshima Peninsula, Ezo (Hokkaido) was hit by a tsunami caused by an eruption of the volcano on the island of Ōshima. The tsunami itself is believed to have been the result from a landslide of a partly underwater landslide triggered by the eruption.[48] 1,467 people died in Ezo.[49]
1743 Apulia, Italy 1743 Salento earthquake Earthquake On 20 February 1743, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the Strait of Otranto triggered a tsunami up to 11 meters high.[50] Between 180 and 300 people died.[51]
1755 Lisbon, Portugal 1755 Lisbon earthquake Earthquake Tens of thousands of Portuguese people who survived the Great Lisbon earthquake on 1 November 1755 were killed by a tsunami 40 minutes later. Many fled to the coast, an area safe from fires and debris during aftershocks. These people watched the sea recede, revealing a seabed littered with lost cargo and shipwrecks. The tsunami then struck with a maximum height of 15 metres (49 ft), traveling inland.

The earthquake, tsunami, and fires killed 40,000 to 50,000 people.[52] Historical records of early navigators such as Vasco da Gama were lost, and among the destroyed buildings were most of Portugal's examples of Manueline architecture. Eighteenth-century Europeans struggled to understand the disaster within religious and rational belief systems, and Enlightenment philosophers, notably Voltaire, wrote about the event. The philosophical concept of the sublime, as described by Immanuel Kant was inspired by attempts to understand the enormity of the Lisbon earthquake and tsunami.

The tsunami took just over 4 hours to travel over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to Cornwall in the United Kingdom. An account by Arnold Boscowitz claimed "great loss of life." It also struck Galway, Ireland, and caused heavy damage to the Spanish Arch section of the city wall.

1756 Langfjorden, Norway Langfjorden Landslide

On 22 February 1756, a landslide in Langfjorden generated three megatsunamis in Langfjorden and Eresfjorden with heights of 40 to 50 metres (131 to 164 ft). The waves killed 32 people and destroyed 168 buildings, 196 boats, large amounts of forest, roads and boat landings.[53]

1761 Lisbon, Portugal 1761 Lisbon earthquake Earthquake More than five years after the 1755 earthquake, on 31 March 1761, another event with an estimated magnitude of 8.5 shook the Iberian Peninsula. It generated a tsunami up to 2.4 meters at Lisbon. In Cornwall, the tsunami reached more than a meter in height. The details of this earthquake are largely unknown, censored by the Portuguese government to prevent panic.
1762 Rahkine, Burma 1762 Arakan earthquake Earthquake On 2 April 1762, the west coast of Myanmar (Burma) and Chittagong was hit by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.8, trigerring a tsunami in the Bay of Bengal and killing more than 200 people.[54]
1771 Yaeyama Islands, Ryūkyū 1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami Earthquake

An underwater earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.4 occurred near the Yaeyama Islands in the former Ryūkyū Kingdom (present day Okinawa, Japan) on 24 April 1771 at about 08:00. The earthquake is not believed to have directly caused any deaths, but the resulting tsunami killed an estimated 12,000 people.[55] Advance estimates at Ishigaki Island range from 30 to 85.4 meters (99 to 280 feet). The tsunami was followed by malaria epidemics and crop failures. It took 148 years for the population to return to pre-tsunami levels.

1781 Pingtung, Taiwan In April or May 1781, according to Taiwan County records, in Jiadong, Pingtung County, a three-meter wave hit the city. Fish and shrimp rampaged wildly on the shore and nearby fishing villages were wiped out. However, no earthquake was reported.[56] A different source claims that a 30-meter (99-foot) wave also hit Tainan.[57] One possibility is a misrecording of the date, corresponding to the Great Yaeyama event mentioned above.
1783 Calabria, Italy 1783 Calabrian earthquakes Earthquake The earthquake was the second of a sequence of five shocks that shook Calabria between 5 February and 28 March 1783. The citizens of Scilla spent the night after the first earthquake on the beach, where they were washed away by the tsunami, causing 1,500 deaths. The tsunami was caused by the collapse of Monte Paci into the sea, near the city. Estimated deaths from earthquake and tsunami are 32,000 to 50,000.
1792 Kyūshū, Japan 1792 Unzen earthquake and tsunami Volcanic processes Tsunamis were the main cause of death in the worst volcanic disaster in Japanese history, an eruption of Mount Unzen, Hizen Province (Nagasaki Prefecture), Kyushu, Japan. Towards the end of 1791, a series of earthquakes on the western flank of Mount Unzen moved towards Fugen-dake, one of the peaks of Mount Unzen. In February 1792, Fugen-dake erupted, starting two months of lava flows. The earthquakes continued, approaching the city of Shimabara. On the night of 21 May 1792, two major earthquakes preceded the collapse of the eastern flank of Mount Unzen's Mayuyama dome. An avalanche swept across Shimabara and Ariake Bay, causing a tsunami. The tsunami hit Higo Province (Kumamoto Prefecture) along Ariake Bay before recovering. Of the estimated 15,000 deaths, around 5,000 are believed to have died from the landslide, around 5,000 from the tsunami in Higo Province, and around 5,000 from the tsunami that returned to Shimabara. The waves reached a height of 330 ft (100 m), making it a small megatsunami.
1797 Sumatra, Indonesia 1797 Sumatra earthquake Earthquake On 10 February 1797, a massive earthquake estimated to be approximately 8.4 on the moment magnitude scale struck Sumatra in Indonesia. Many deaths occurred, although it is not known how many.


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
1806 Goldau, Switzerland 1806 Goldau landslide Landslide On 2 September 1806 a landslide of 120,000,000 tons of rock, much of which displaced water from Lake Lauerz and caused a tsunami that inundated lakeside villages, killing 457 people.
1812 Santa Barbara channel, Alta California 1812 Ventura earthquake Earthquake or landslide On 21 December 1812 a magnitude 7.1 to 7.5 earthquake triggered a 3.4-meter tsunami (eyewitness reported more than 15 meters) in the Lompoc area, leveling homes and missions in the area. It left a ship inland before taking it back out to sea. Its origin may be due to faults or landslides.
1815 Tambora, Indonesia 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora Volcanic eruption On 10 April 1815 an eruption of VEI 7 caused a localized tsunami. Tsunami of 4 meters in Sanggar, 1 to 2 meters in Besuki, Java Island and 2 meters in the Molucca Islands.
1819 Gujarat, India 1819 Rann of Kutch earthquake Earthquake On 16 June 1819, a local tsunami inundated the Great Rann of Kutch
1833 Sumatra, Dutch East-Indies 1833 Sumatra earthquake Earthquake On 25 November 1833, an earthquake with an estimated moment magnitude between 8.8 and 9.2 struck Sumatra in the Dutch East-Indies. The coast of Sumatra, near the epicenter of the earthquake, was the most affected by the resulting tsunami.
1853–1854 Lituya Bay, Alaska Landslide Sometime between August 1853 and May 1854, a large tsunami traveled through the bay. The wave had a maximum rise height of 120 metres (394 ft), inundating the bay shoreline up to 750 feet (229 m) inland.[58]
1854 Nankai, Tōkai, and Kyushu, Japan Ansei great earthquakes Earthquake The Ansei earthquakes which hit the south coast of Japan, were actually a series of three earthquakes over the course of several days.

The total result was 80,000 to 100,000 deaths.[61]

1855 Edo, Japan 1855 Edo earthquake Earthquake The following year, on 11 November 1855, the Great Ansei Edo earthquake of 1855 struck the Edo (Tokyo) region of Japan, killing between 4,500 and 10,000 people. Popular stories of the time blamed the earthquakes and tsunamis on a wallowing giant catfish named Namazu thrashing about. The name of the Japanese era was changed to bring good luck after four disastrous earthquakes and tsunamis in two years.
1867 Virgin Islands 1867 Virgin Islands earthquake and tsunami Earthquake On 18 November 1867, a large double earthquake occurred in the Virgin Islands archipelago. The crash likely occurred between the islands of Saint Thomas and Saint Croix. The highest run of 7.6 m (25 ft) was observed at Frederiksted on Saint Croix, and occurred within minutes of the tremors.[62]
1867 Keelung, Taiwan 1867 Keelung earthquake Earthquake On 18 December 1867, a major earthquake struck Keelung, Taiwan, causing the crust of the mountains to deform and fissures to open. The water drained out of Keelung Harbor to reveal the sea floor, then returned in a large wave. The boats were dragged to the center of the city. In many places, the ground and the mountains split open and water gushed out of fissures. Hundreds of deaths resulted.[56][57]
1868 Hawaiian Islands 1868 Hawaii earthquake Earthquake On 2 April 1868, a local earthquake estimated to be between 7.5 and 8.0 magnitude struck off the southeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It triggered a landslide on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano, five miles (8 km) north of Pahala, killing 31 people. Then a tsunami claimed an additional 46 lives. The villages of Punaluu, Ninole, Kawaa, Honuapo, and Keauhou Landing were heavily damaged, and the village of Apua was destroyed. According to one account, the tsunami "passed over the tops of coconut palms, probably 60 feet high .... inland for a distance of a quarter of a mile in places, carrying into the sea as it returned, houses, men, women, and almost all furniture." This was reported in the 1988 edition of the book "Tsunami!" (ISBN 0-8248-1125-9) by Walter C. Dudley.
1868 Arica, Peru (now part of Chile) 1868 Arica earthquake Earthquake On 13 August 1868, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.5 struck the Peru–Chile Trench. A resulting tsunami hit the port of Arica, then part of Peru, killing an estimated 25,000 in Arica and 70,000 in total. Three military ships anchored in Arica, the American warship USS Wateree and the freighter Fredonia, and the Peruvian warship America, were swept away by the tsunami.[63]
1871 Molucca Sea 1871 Ruang eruption and tsunami Volcanic eruption In March 1871, an explosive eruption from the Ruang volcano triggered a locally devastating tsunami measuring 25 m (82 ft). It flooded many villages on nearby islands, killing about 400 people.
1874 Lituya Bay, Alaska Landslide Sometime around 1874, perhaps in May 1874, a megatsunami occurred in Lituya Bay. It had a maximum rise height of 80 feet (24 m), flooding the bay shoreline as far as 2,100 feet (640 m) inland.[64]
1877 Iquique, Chile 1877 Iquique earthquake Earthquake On 9 May 1877, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.5 occurred off the coast of what is now Chile, causing a tsunami that killed an estimated 2,541 people. This event followed the destructive earthquake and tsunami at Arica by only nine years.[65]
1881 Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands 1881 Nicobar Islands earthquake Earthquake On 31 December 1881 a tsunami caused by an earthquake was recorded on all the coasts of the Bay of Bengal by tide gauges. This information has been used to estimate the rupture area and magnitude of the earthquake.
1883 Krakatoa, Sunda Strait, Netherlands East Indies 1883 eruption of Krakatoa Volcanic eruption The volcano on the island of Krakatoa in the Dutch East-Indies (present-day Indonesia) exploded on 27 August 1883, partially emptying its subterranean magma chamber, causing much of the land and seabed to collapse onto it. The collapse generated a series of large tsunami waves, some more than 40 meters above sea level. Tsunami waves were observed throughout the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and as far away as the west coast of the United States and South America. On the opposing coasts of Java and Sumatra flooding from the sea reached many miles inland and caused such loss of life[66] that one area was never resettled, reverting to jungle and is now the Ujung Kulon Nature Reserve.
1888 Ritter Island, Netherlands East Indies 1888 Ritter Island eruption and tsunami Volcanic eruption On 13 March 1888, a significant portion of Ritter Island collapsed into the sea, generating tsunamis up to 12 to 15 metres (39 to 49 ft) high that struck nearby islands and traveled as far south as New Guinea, where they were 8 metres (26 ft) high. The waves killed about 3,000 people.[67][68]
1896 Sanriku, Japan 1896 Sanriku earthquake Earthquake On 15 June 1896, at around 19:32 local time, a large undersea earthquake off the coast of Sanriku, northeastern Honshu, Japan, triggered tsunami waves that hit the shore approximately half an hour later. Although the earthquake itself is not believed to have caused any deaths, the waves, which reached a height of 100 feet (30 m), killed an estimated 27,000 people. In 2005, the same general area was hit by the 2005 Sanriku Japan earthquake, but without a major tsunami.


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
1905 Loenvatnet, Norway Rockfall On 15 January 1905, a rockslide hit lake Loenvatnet in Sogn og Fjordane, creating a 40 m (130 ft) flood wave that destroyed the villages of Ytre Nesdal and Bødal, killing 61 people.[72] The slide, which started 500 metres up the mountainside of Mount Ramnefjell, had a mass of about 870,000 metric tons when it entered the lake.[73]
1905 Disenchantment Bay, Alaska Glacier collapse On 4 July 1905, a tsunami at Disenchantment Bay in Alaska snapped tree branches 110 feet (34 m) above ground level 0.5 miles (0.8 km) away from its source, killed vegetation to a height of 65 feet (20 m) as far as 3 miles (5 km) away, and reached heights of 50 to 115 feet (15 to 35 m) at various locations on the Haenke Island shoreline. At a distance of 15 miles (24 km), observers at Russell Fjord reported a series of large waves that caused the water level to rise and fall 15 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) for a half an hour.[74]
1906 Tumaco-Esmeraldas, Colombia-Ecuador 1906 Ecuador–Colombia earthquake Earthquake On 31 January 1906 an earthquake caused a tsunami that killed 500 people in Tumaco and Esmeraldas and hit Colombia, Ecuador, California, Hawaii, and Japan. The waves were 5 meters high.
1907 Simeulue, Nias off Sumatra 1907 Sumatra earthquake Earthquake On 4 January 1907, an earthquake tsunami triggered a transoceanic tsunami, causing 2,188 deaths in Simeulue and Nias.[75]
1908 Messina, Italy 1908 Messina earthquake Earthquake-triggered underwater landslide
The aftermath of the tsunami that struck Messina in 1908
On 28 December 1908 an earthquake combined with a tsunami claimed an estimated 123,000 lives.[76]
1918 Puerto Rico 1918 San Fermín earthquake Earthquake-triggered underwater landslide On 11 October 1918 a large tsunami (which may have been associated with an underwater landslide) affected northwestern Puerto Rico.[77]
1923 Kantō, Japan 1923 Great Kantō earthquake Earthquake The Great Kantō earthquake, which occurred in eastern Japan on 1 September 1923, and devastated Tokyo, Yokohama, and surrounding areas, triggered tsunamis that struck the Shōnan coast, the Bōsō Peninsula, the Izu Islands and the east coast of the Izu Peninsula, in a matter of minutes in some cases. In Atami, waves that reached 12 meters were recorded. Examples of tsunami damage include about 100 people killed along Kamakura's Yuigahama beach and about 50 people on the Enoshima causeway. However, tsunamis only accounted for a small proportion of the final death toll of more than 100,000, most of whom died in fires.
1927 Southern California, United States 1927 Lompoc earthquake Earthquake On 4 November 1927 a 7.3 earthquake struck Southern California causing a 2 m tsunami that caused some damage.
1929 Venezuela 1929 Cumaná earthquake Earthquake On 17 January 1929 a 6.9 earthquake hit the city of Cumaná in Venezuela causing major damage and a 3 m tsunami that swept away homes and killed 40 people.
1929 Newfoundland 1929 Grand Banks earthquake Earthquake On 18 November 1929, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake occurred below the Laurentian Slope on the Grand Banks. The earthquake was felt throughout Canada's Atlantic provinces and as far away as Ottawa and Claymont, Delaware. The resulting tsunami measured more than 7 meters high and took about 2+12 hours to reach the Burin Peninsula on the south coast of Newfoundland, where 28 people in various communities lost their lives. It also broke telegraph cables laid under the Atlantic.[78]
1930 Gulf of Martaban, Burma (Myanmar) 1930 Bago earthquake Earthquake On 5 May 1930, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake along the Sagaing Fault triggered a 1.06-meter-high tsunami that inundated the southern coast of Myanmar.[79] It traveled up rivers, destroying harbors and anchored ships. The earthquake killed more than 500 people in Bago, Yangon, and many other cities.
1932 Mexico 1932 Jalisco earthquakes Earthquake Three very large to large earthquakes off the coast of Jalisco in June 1932 each generated tsunamis. The last and smallest event in the series occurred upslope relative to the mainshock and generated the largest tsunami.[80]
1933 Sanriku, Japan 1933 Sanriku earthquake Earthquake On 3 March 1933, the coast of Sanriku in northeastern Honshu, Japan, which suffered a devastating tsunami in 1896 (see above), was struck again by tsunami waves resulting from a magnitude 8.1 offshore earthquake. The earthquake destroyed around 5,000 homes and killed 3,068 people, the vast majority as a result of the tsunami waves. The coastal town of Tarō (now part of Miyako city) in Iwate Prefecture was particularly hard hit, losing 42% of its total population and 98% of its buildings. Tarō is now protected by a tsunami wall, currently 10 meters high and over 2 kilometers long.[81]
1934 Tafjorden, Norway Tafjorden Rockslide On 7 April 1934, a rockslide of about 2,000,000 cubic metres (2,600,000 cu yd) of rock fell from Langhamaren Mountain from a height of about 700 metres (2,300 ft). The rock landed in Tafjorden creating a local tsunami that killed 40 people[82] living on the fjord's shore. Waves reached a height of 62 metres (203 ft) near the landslide, about 7 metres (23 ft) at Sylte, and about 16 metres (52 ft) at Tafjord. It was one of the worst natural disasters in Norway in the 20th century.[83]
1936 Loenvatnet, Norway Rockfall On 13 September 1936, approximately one million cubic metres of mountain broke off the Mount Ramnefjell at a height of 800 metres[73] and fell into lake Loenvatnet in Sogn og Fjordane, creating a 70 m (230 ft) flood wave that destroyed several farms, killing 74 people. The second such incident in 31 years, the disaster caused the permanent depopulation of the area.[84]
1936 Lituya Bay, Alaska Unknown On 27 October 1936, a megatsunami occurred in Alaska's Lituya Bay with a maximum breakthrough height of 490 feet (149 m) in Crillon Inlet at the head of the bay. All four eyewitnesses to the wave in Lituya Bay survived and described it as being between 100 and 250 feet (30 and 76 m) high as it traveled across the bay. The maximum flood distance was 2,000 feet (610 m) inland along the north shore of the bay. The cause of the megatsunami remains unclear, but it may have been an underwater landslide.[85]
1944 Tōnankai, Japan 1944 Tōnankai earthquake Earthquake An 8.0 magnitude earthquake on 7 December 1944, about 20 km off Japan's Shima Peninsula, stricking the Pacific coast of central Japan, primarily Mie, Aichi, and Shizuoka Prefectures. Authorities downplayed news of the event to protect wartime morale, and as a result the full extent of the damage is unknown, but the earthquake is estimated to have killed 1,223 people, with the tsunami being the main cause of deaths.
1945 Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean 1945 Balochistan earthquake Earthquake The earthquake with a moment magnitude of 8.1 and a maximum perceived intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale, occurred in British India at 01:26 on 28 November 1945. It was the result of a fault near the Makran Trench. The resulting tsunami caused damage along the Makran coastal region affecting Pakistan, Iran, Oman and India.[86][87]
1946 Aleutian Islands 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake Earthquake
Residents running from an approaching tsunami in Hilo, Hawaii

On 1 April 1946, the Aleutian Islands tsunami killed 159 people in Hawaii and five in Alaska (the lighthouse keepers of the Scotch Cap Light in the Aleutian Islands). The wave reached Kauai, Hawaii, 4+12 hours after the quake, and Hilo, Hawaii, almost 5 hours later. Residents of these islands were completely caught off guard by the onset of the tsunami due to the inability to broadcast any warnings from the destroyed poles at the Scotch Cap Light on Unimak Island in Alaska. The tsunami is known as the Hawaii April Fools' Day Tsunami because it happened on 1 April and many people thought it was an April Fool's Day prank. The result was the creation of a tsunami warning system known as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), established in 1949 for the countries of Oceania.

1946 Nankai, Japan 1946 Nankai earthquake Earthquake The Nankai earthquake of 21 December 1946 had a magnitude of 8.4 and occurred at 04:19 (local time) to the southwestern Japan in the Nankai Trough. This event was one of the Nankai mega-earthquakes, periodic earthquakes observed off the southern coast of the Kii Peninsula and Shikoku, Japan, every 100 to 150 years. The subsequent tsunami leveled 1451 houses and caused 1500 deaths in Japan, and was observed on tide gauges in California, Hawaii, and Peru.[17] The coastal cities of Kushimoto and Kainan on the Kii Peninsula were particularly hard hit. The earthquake caused more than 1400 deaths, with the tsunami being the main cause.


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
1952 Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, USSR 1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake Earthquake On 4 November 1952, a tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, killed 2,336 on the Kuril Islands, USSR.
1956 Amorgos, Greece 1956 Amorgos earthquake Earthquake On 9 July 1956, 53 deaths occurred during the largest earthquake of the 20th century in Greece. Santorini was damaged, and a localized tsunami affected the Cyclades and Dodecanese island groups. A maximum runup of 30 m (98 ft) was observed off the south coast of Amorgos.[88]
1957 Andreanof Islands, United States 1957 Andreanof Islands earthquake Earthquake On 9 March 1957 an 8.6 earthquake struck the Andreanof Islands triggering a tsunami.
1958 Lituya Bay, Alaska, U.S. 1958 Lituya Bay, Alaska earthquake and megatsunami Earthquake-triggered landslide On the night of 9 July 1958, an earthquake on the Fairweather Fault in Alaska loosened about 40 million cubic yards (30 million cubic meters) of rock 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the northeast shore of Lituya Bay. The impact in the waters of Gilbert Inlet generated a local tsunami that crashed against the southwest coast and swept the spur separating Gilbert Inlet from the main Lituya Bay. The wave continued through Lituya Bay, over La Chaussee Spit and into the Gulf of Alaska. The force of the wave removed all trees and vegetation from a height of 1720 feet (524 meters) above sea level. This is the highest wave ever recorded. The scale of this wave was much larger than ordinary tsunamis, eventually leading to the new category of megatsunamis.
1960 Valdivia, Chile, and Pacific Ocean 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean earthquake Earthquake The magnitude 9.5 earthquake of 22 May 1960, the largest earthquake ever recorded, generated one of the most destructive tsunamis of the 20th century. The tsunami spread across the Pacific Ocean, with waves measuring up to 25 meters (82 feet) high in places. The first tsunami wave hit Hilo, Hawaii, approximately 15 hours after its origin. The highest wave at Hilo Bay was measured at around 10.7 m (35 ft). 61 lives were lost, allegedly due to people not heeding the warning sirens. Nearly 22 hours after the earthquake, waves up to 3 m above high tide hit the coast of Sanriku in Japan, killing 142 people. Up to 6,000 people died in total worldwide from the earthquake and tsunami.[89]
1963 Vajont Dam, Monte Toc, Italy Vajont Dam Landslide
The Vajont Dam as seen from Longarone on 25 September 2012, showing the top 60–70 metres. The 200–250-metre (656–820-foot) megatsunami would have obscured virtually all of the sky in this picture.

The Vajont Dam was completed in 1961 under Monte Toc, 100 km north of Venice, Italy. At 262 metres (860 feet), it was one of the tallest dams in the world. On 9 October 1963 a landslide of some 260 million cubic meters of forest, dirt, and rock fell into the reservoir at speeds of up to 110 km per hour (68 mph). The resulting water displacement caused 50 million cubic metres of water to overflow the dam in a megatsunami wave of 250 m high. The floods destroyed the villages of Longarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova and Faè, killing 1,450 people. Almost 2,000 people perished in total.

1964 Alaska, U.S. and Pacific Ocean 1964 Alaska earthquake Earthquake After the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday earthquake of 27 March 1964, tsunamis hit Alaska, British Columbia, California, and coastal cities in the Pacific Northwest, killing 121 people. Waves reached 100 feet (30 m) high and killed 11 people as far away as Crescent City, California.
1964 Niigata, Japan 1964 Niigata earthquake Earthquake On 16 June 1964, 28 people died, and entire apartment buildings were destroyed by soil liquefaction. The subsequent tsunami destroyed the port of Niigata.
1965 Shemya Island, Alaska 1965 Rat Islands earthquake Earthquake The Rat Islands earthquake of 3 February 1965, generated a 10.7-metre (35 ft) tsunami on Shemya Island.[90]
1969 Portugal, Morocco 1969 Portugal earthquake Earthquake On 28 February 1969, a large underwater earthquake off the coast of Portugal generated a tsunami that affected both Portugal and Morocco.[91]
1975 Hawaii, United States 1975 Hawaii earthquake Earthquake On 29 November 1975 a 7.4 earthquake affects Hawaii, triggering a 14 m tsunami and a small brief eruption of the Kilauea volcano.
1976 Moro Gulf, Mindanao, Philippines 1976 Moro Gulf earthquake Earthquake On 17 August 1976 at 00:11, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the island of Mindanao, Philippines. The resulting tsunami devastated more than 700 km of coastline bordering the Gulf of Moro in the North Celebes Sea. Estimated casualties included 5,000 dead, 2,200 missing, 9,500 wounded, and 93,500 homeless. Affected cities include Cotabato, Pagadian, and Zamboanga, and the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, and Zamboanga del Sur.
1979 Tumaco, Colombia 1979 Tumaco earthquake Earthquake An 8.1 magnitude earthquake occurred on 12 December 1979 at 02:59 along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador. The earthquake and resulting tsunami destroyed at least six fishing villages and killed hundreds of people in the Colombian Department of Nariño. The earthquake was felt in Bogotá, Cali, Popayán, Buenaventura, Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, and Quito. The tsunami caused great destruction in the city of Tumaco, as well as in the towns of El Charco, San Juan, Mosquera, and Salahonda on the Pacific coast of Colombia. Casualties included 259 dead, 798 wounded and 95 missing or presumed dead.
1980 Spirit Lake, Washington, U.S. Spirit Lake (Washington), 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Mount St. Helens Volcanic eruption On 18 May 1980, in the course of a major eruption of Mount St. Helens, the upper 460 m (1400 ft) of the mountain failed, causing a major landslide. One lobe of the landslide rose into nearby Spirit Lake, creating a megatsunami of 260 meters (853 feet) high.[92]
1983 Sea of Japan 1983 Sea of Japan earthquake Earthquake On 26 May 1983 at 11:59 local time, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred in the Sea of Japan, about 100 km west of the Noshiro coast in Akita Prefecture. Of the 107 fatalities, all but four were killed by the resulting tsunami, which hit communities along the coast, especially Aomori and Akita Prefectures and the Noto Peninsula. Footage of the tsunami hitting the fishing port of Wajima on Noto Peninsula was broadcast on TV. The waves exceeded 10 meters in some areas. Three of the deaths occurred along the east coast of South Korea (whether North Korea was affected is not known). The tsunami also hit Okushiri Island.
1992 Nicaragua 1992 Nicaragua earthquake Earthquake On 1 September 1992 a 7.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Nicaragua and sent a devastating tsunami to the coast of the department of Rivas, killing an estimated 116 people. The magnitude of the wave, 9.9 meters high, was unusually large given the magnitude of the earthquake.
1992 Indonesia 1992 Flores earthquake and tsunami Earthquake A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Flores, Indonesia, on 12 December 1992. The earthquake produced a devastating 25-meter-high tsunami that hit the island and ran inland up to 300 meters shortly after the earthquake. About 2,500 people were killed or missing, including 1,490 at Maumere and 700 in Babi. More than 500 people were injured and 90,000 left homeless. Damage was assessed at more than 100 million US dollars.
1993 Okushiri, Hokkaido, Japan 1993 Hokkaido earthquake Earthquake A devastating tsunami wave hit Hokkaido in Japan as a result of a magnitude 7.8 offshore 80 miles (130 km) on 12 July 1993. Within minutes, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning that was broadcast on NHK in English and Japanese (archived at NHK library). However, on Okushiri, a small island near the epicenter, some waves reaching 30 meters hit two to five minutes after the earthquake. Despite being surrounded by tsunami barriers, Aonae, a town on a low-lying peninsula, was hit over the next hour by 13 waves over two meters high that came from multiple directions, including waves that bounced off Hokkaido. Of the 250 people killed as a result of the earthquake, 197 were victims of the tsunami that hit Okushiri; the waves also caused deaths in Hokkaido. While many residents, recalling the May 1983 tsunami (see above), survived by evacuating on foot, many others underestimated how soon the waves would arrive (the 1983 tsunami took 17 minutes to hit Okushiri) and died trying to evacuate by car. The highest tsunami wave was 31 meters (102 ft) high.
1994 Java earthquake 1994 Java earthquake Earthquake 250 dead as a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and tsunami hit east Java and Bali on 3 June 1994.
1998 Papua New Guinea 1998 Papua New Guinea earthquake Earthquake On 17 July 1998, a tsunami in Papua New Guinea killed an estimated 2,200 people.[93] An earthquake of magnitude 7.1, 24 km from the coast was followed in 11 minutes by a tsunami about 15 metres high. The tsunami was generated by an underwater landslide, which was triggered by the earthquake. The towns of Arop and Warapu were destroyed.
1999 Sea of Marmara 1999 İzmit earthquake Earthquake On 17 August 1999 an earthquake caused a tsunami in the Sea of Marmara, with a maximum water height of 2.52 m. 150 people died when the city of Degirmendere was flooded and another five were washed into the sea in Ulaşlı.[94][95]


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
2002 Tyrrhenian Sea 2002 Stromboli tsunami Landslide In May 2002, the volcanic island of Stromboli entered a new phase of explosive activity that was initially characterized by gas and ash emission from the summit craters. On 30 December 2002, a seismic network recorded two large collapses of a huge portion of the Sciara del Fuoco, which resulted in tsunamis.
2004 Indian Ocean 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami Earthquake
Animation showing the tsunami radiation from the 1,600 km (990 mi) rupture

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (moment magnitude 9.1–9.3)[17] triggered a series of tsunamis on 26 December 2004 that devastated coastlines surrounding the Indian Ocean, killing an estimated 227,898 people (167,540 in Indonesia alone), making it the deadliest tsunami and one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. The earthquake was the second largest earthquake in recorded history. The initial surge was measured at a height of approximately 33 meters (108 ft), making it one of the largest earthquake-generated tsunamis in recorded history. The tsunami killed people from the immediate vicinity of the earthquake in Indonesia, Thailand, and the northwest coast of Malaysia, to thousands of miles away in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and as far afield as Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania. This tsunami that crossed the Indian Ocean is an example of a teletsunami, which travels great distances across the open ocean, and an ocean-wide tsunami. It became known as the "Boxing Day Tsunami" because it hit on Boxing Day (26 December).

Unlike the Pacific Ocean, there was no organized warning service covering the Indian Ocean. This was due in part to the absence of major tsunamis since August 1883 (the Krakatoa eruption, see above). In light of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, UNESCO and other world bodies called for an international tsunami monitoring system.

2006 South of Java Island 2006 Pangandaran earthquake and tsunami Earthquake A magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook the seabed of the Indian Ocean on 17 July 2006, 200 km south of Pangandaran, a beach famous among surfers for its perfect waves. This earthquake triggered tsunamis with heights ranging from 2 meters at Cilacap to 6 meters at Cimerak beach, where it flattened and leveled buildings up to 400 metres from the coastline. More than 800 people were reported missing or dead.
2006 Kuril Islands 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake Earthquake On 15 November 2006, a magnitude 8.3 earthquake occurred off the coast near the Kuril Islands. A relatively large tsunami was generated, with waves reaching 21.9 m (72 ft).[96] This tsunami was also observed in Japan and at distant locations throughout the Pacific. In Crescent City, California, a 1.76 m (5.8 ft) high tsunami caused an estimated $10 million USD in damages.[97]
2007 Solomon Islands 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake Earthquake On 2 April 2007, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck about 40 km (25 mi) south of Ghizo Island in the western Solomon Islands at 07:39, triggering a tsunami of up to 12 m (36 feet) tall. The wave, which hit the coast of the Solomon Islands (mainly Choiseul, Ghizo Island, Ranongga, and Simbo), triggered tsunami watches and warnings that spread from Japan to New Zealand, Hawaii and eastern Australia. The tsunami killed 52 people and dozens were injured as the waves inundated cities. A state of national emergency was declared for the Solomon Islands. On Choiseul Island, a 9.1 m (30 feet) high wall of water was reported to have swept nearly 400 meters inland. The largest waves hit the northern tip of Simbo Island, where two villages, Tapurai and Riquru, were completely destroyed by a 12 m wave, killing 10 people. Authoroties estimated that the tsunami displaced more than 5,000 residents throughout the archipelago.
2007 Chile 2007 Aysén Fjord earthquake Earthquake and landslide On 21 April 2007, an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 occurred in the Aysén Fjord. In the mountains around the fjord, the earthquake triggered landslides that in turn created waves up to 50 m (160 ft) high, severely damaging some salmon aquaculture facilities. The drinking water systems of the cities of Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Aisén were broken, forcing firefighters and the army to supply water. The electricity network of Puerto Chacabuco was also cut. Ten people were reported dead or missing.
2007 British Columbia Landslide On 4 December 2007, a landslide entered Lake Chehalis in British Columbia, generating a large tsunami in the lake that destroyed camps and vegetation many meters above the shoreline.[98]
2009 Samoa 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami Earthquake An undersea earthquake occurred in the Samoa Islands region at 06:48 local time on 29 September 2009. This magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the outer elevation of the Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone was the largest earthquake of 2009.

The subsequent tsunami caused substantial damage and loss of life in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center recorded a 76 mm (3.0 in) rise in sea level near the epicenter, and New Zealand scientists noted waves up to 14 m (46 ft) off the coast of Samoa. More than 189 people, especially children, were killed, most of them in Samoa. Large waves without major damage were reported in Fiji, the north coast of New Zealand and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. People from the low-lying atolls of Tokelau moved to higher ground as a precautionary measure.

2010 Chile 2010 Chile earthquake Earthquake On 27 February 2010, an 8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile triggered a tsunami that caused severe damage and loss of life, also causing minor effects in other Pacific nations.
2010 Sumatra 2010 Mentawai earthquake and tsunami Earthquake On 25 October 2010, a 7.7 earthquake struck near the island of South Pagai in Indonesia, triggering a localized tsunami that killed at least 408 people.


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
2011 New Zealand 2011 Christchurch earthquake Earthquake-triggered ice fall On 22 February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. About 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the epicenter of the earthquake, around 30 million tons of ice fell from the Tasman Glacier into Tasman Lake, producing a series of 3.5 m (11 ft) high tsunami waves, which hit tourist boats on the lake.[99][100]
2011 Pacific coast of Japan 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami Earthquake
NOAA animation of the tsunami's propagation

On 11 March 2011, off the Pacific coast of Japan, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake produced a 33 feet (10 m) high tsunami along the northeast coast of Japan. The wave caused widespread devastation, with an official count of 18,550 people confirmed dead or missing.[101] The highest recorded tsunami in Miyako, Iwate reached a total height of 40.5 metres (133 ft).[102] Additionally, the tsunami precipitated multiple hydrogen and hydrogen/oxygen explosions at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tsunami warnings were issued for the entire Pacific Rim.[103][104]

2012 El Salvador and Nicaragua 2012 El Salvador earthquake Earthquake On 26 August 2012, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake triggered local tsunami waves of up to 6 meters along a small stretch of the coast of El Salvador, injuring at least 40 people. Smaller waves were recorded in Nicaragua and the Galápagos Islands.[105]
2013 Solomon Islands 2013 Solomon Islands earthquake Earthquake On 6 February 2013, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale struck the island nation of the Solomon Islands. This earthquake created tsunami waves up to around 1 meter high. The tsunami also affected other islands such as New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
2014 Iceland Askja Landslide At 23:24 on 21 July 2014, in a period experiencing an earthquake swarm related to the upcoming eruption of Bárðarbunga, an 800 m wide section gave way on the slopes of the Icelandic volcano Askja. Starting at 350 m above water height, it caused a tsunami 20 to 30 meters high through the caldera and potentially larger at localized impact points. Thanks to the late hour, there were no tourists present; however, search and rescue noted a cloud of steam rising from the volcano, apparently geothermal steam released by the landslide. It is not known if geothermal activity played a role in the landslide. The landslide involved a total of 30 to 50 million cubic meters, which raised the water level in the caldera by 1 to 2 meters.[106]
2015 Chile 2015 Chile earthquake Earthquake On Wednesday 16 September 2015, a large earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Moment Magnitude scale struck the west coast of Chile, causing a tsunami up to 16 feet (4.88 meters) high along the Chilean coast.
2015 Taan Fiord, Alaska, U.S. Icy Bay (Alaska) Landslide On Saturday 17 October 2015, a large landslide occurred at the head of Taan Fiord, a finger of Icy Bay. It triggered a mega-tsunami with an initial height of 100 metres (328 ft) and a breakthrough on the opposite shore of the fjord of 193 metres (633 ft). As the wave traveled up Taan Fiord towards Icy Bay, surges along the fjord's shoreline ranged from 20 metres (66 ft) to more than 100 metres (328 ft).
2016 New Zealand 2016 Kaikoura earthquake Earthquake On 14 November 2016, a major earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand with a magnitude of 7.5 to 7.8. A 2.5 meter tsunami hit Kaikoura and other small waves of less than a meters hit several New Zealand coasts.
2017 Greenland Landslide On 17 June 2017, a 300 m × 1,100 m (980 ft × 3,610 ft) landslide fell approximately 1 km (3,300 ft) into Karrat Fjord in the Uummannaq area of western Greenland. The resulting tsunami hit the Nuugaatsiaq settlement killing four people, injuring nine and dragging eleven buildings into the water.[107][108] The tsunami was initially 90 m (300 ft) high, but was significantly lower once it hit the settlement.[108] It was initially unclear if the landslide was caused by a small earthquake (magnitude 4),[107] but it was later confirmed that the landslide had caused the tremors.[108]
2018 Sulawesi 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami Earthquake-triggered underwater landslide On 28 September 2018, a localized tsunami struck Palu, sweeping away homes and buildings on the coast in its way; the earthquake, tsunami and soil liquefaction killed at least 4,340 and injured more than 10,670.[109] Waves up to 10.7 m (35 ft) hit the cities of Palu, Donggala and Mamuju.[110][111]
2018 Java and Sumatra 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami Volcanic-eruption-triggered landslide At 21:03 local time (14:03 UTC) on 22 December 2018, Anak Krakatoa erupted, damaging local seismographic equipment, although a nearby seismographic station detected continuing tremors.[112] BMKG detected a tsunami event around 21:27 local time (14:27 UTC) off the western coast of Banten, but the agency had not detected any previous tectonic event.[113] On 23 December it was confirmed via satellite data and helicopter footage that the southwestern sector of the Anak Krakatoa had collapsed, triggering the tsunami and the main conduit is now erupting underwater producing Surtseyan-style activity.[114] The Indonesian National Disaster Management Board initially reported 20 deaths and 165 injuries.[115][112][116] By 29 December, the number of dead had risen to 426, while the wounded numbered 7,202 and the missing 24.[117]
2020 Aegean Sea 2020 Aegean Sea earthquake and tsunami Earthquake On 30 October 2020, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake triggered a tsunami that inundated the Greek islands of Ikaria, Kos, Chios, and Samos[118] as well as several other islands and coastal areas in Greece and Turkey, where it mainly affected Sığacık in Seferihisar. An 87-year-old woman drowned in Sığacık, Turkey. Tsunami heights were as high as 6 metres (20 ft).[119]


Year Location Main Article Primary Cause Description
2021 South Pacific 2021 Kermadec Islands earthquake Earthquake On 5 March 2021, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake occurred in the Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone, generating a minor tsunami that primarily affected Norfolk Island and New Zealand. Major evacuations were carried out along the New Zealand coast in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Gibsorne following tsunami warnings.[120] A tsunami surge of 64-centimetre (25 in) hit Norfolk Island and tsunami waves of 30-to-40-centimetre (12 to 16 in) hit New Zealand,[121] while a much larger tsunami of 2.64 m (8.7 ft) in height hit Raoul Island, closest to the epicentre of the earthquake.[122]
2021 Ambon Earthquake-triggered underwater landslide On 17 June 2021, a magnitude 5.9 (USGS) or 6.1 (BMKG) undersea earthquake near Ambon Island in Indonesia, triggered an underwater landslide. The landslide then triggered a small tsunami up to 0.5 meters high that hit the shoreline four minutes later.[123] Both the earthquake and tsunami caused some damage to homes, but there were no casualties.[124]
2021 Alaska 2021 Chignik earthquake Earthquake A magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The earthquake was the seventh largest to strike the United States and was preceded by a magnitude 7.8 foreshock in 2020.[125] The mainshock triggered a tsunami that reached 2.63 m (8.6 ft).[126]
2021 South Atlantic 2021 South Sandwich Islands earthquakes Earthquake On 12 August 2021, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, followed several minutes later by a magnitude 8.1 mainshock struck the South Atlantic,[127] in the South Sandwich Islands archipelago, a British Overseas Territory. They were some of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded, and generated a tsunami that was quite small for the quakes' size, reaching a maximum height of 0.75 m (2.5 ft). However the tsunami reached detectable wave heights as far as Portugal and Madagascar,[128] becoming the first tsunami to be detected in four or more oceans since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.[129]
2022 Tonga 2022 Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai eruption and tsunami Volcanic-eruption
NOAA animation of the tsunami's propagation

A major eruption of Hunga Tonga, a volcanic island in Tonga in the Pacific Ocean, occurred on 15 January 2022. The eruption caused tsunamis in Tonga and Fiji. Tsunami warnings were issued for Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Japan and Canada. The tsunami reached 15 meters (49 ft) in Tonga.[130][131]

2022 Philippines Tropical Storm Megi Landslide On 12 April 2022, a landslide caused by heavy rain due to Tropical Storm Megi created tsunami waves in Abuyog that killed two people and injured dozens more.[132]
2022 Mexico 2022 Michoacán earthquake Earthquake A magnitude 7.6-7.7 earthquake struck near the coast of western Mexico on 19 September 2022. A tsunami of about 1.75 m (5.7 ft) high was reported near the epicentre.[133] The tsunami was detected as far away as Ecuador, where tsunami waves as high as 12 cm (0.4 ft) were observed.[134]

Highest or tallest[edit]

  • The tsunami with the highest runup was the 1958 Lituya Bay megatsunami, which had a record height of 524 m (1,719 ft).
  • The only other recent megatsunamis are the 1963 Vajont Dam megatsunami, which had an initial height of 250 m (820 ft), the 1980 Spirit Lake megatsunami, which measured 260 m (850 ft) tall, and the 2015 megatsunami in Taan Fiord, a finger of Icy Bay in Alaska, which had an estimated initial height of 100 metres (328 ft) and a run-up of 193 metres (633 ft).
  • A tsunami caused by a landslide during the 1964 Alaska earthquake reached a height of 70 m (230 ft), making it one of the largest tsunamis in recorded history.[135]


The deadliest tsunami in recorded history was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed almost 230,000 people in fourteen countries including (listed in order of confirmed fatalities) Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, South Africa, Yemen and Kenya.[136]

See also[edit]



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  2. ^ a b Smid, T. C.: "'Tsunamis' in Greek Literature", Greece & Rome, 2nd Ser., Vol. 17, No. 1 (April 1970), pp. 100–04 (102f.)
  3. ^ Thucydides: "A History of the Peloponnesian War", 3.89.1–5 Archived 5 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Hawaiian landslides have been catastrophic". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. 22 October 2015.
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