Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

10.14: Impact of Tsunamis in Modern World History

  • Page ID
    10318
    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
    • Sourced from Miracosta)

    Impact of Tsunamis in Modern World History

    Major Tsunami Events Cause and Effects Damages
    Sumatra, Indonesia,
    26 December 2004
    The 9.1 magnitude earthquake offshore of Sumatra. The fault zone that caused the tsunami was roughly 800 miles (1300 km) long, vertically displacing the sea floor by several meters. Tsunami was as tall as 50 m, reaching about 3 miles (5 km) inland. Many billions in damage, estimated 230,000 people killed.
    North Pacific Coast, Japan,
    11 March 2011
    Tsunami was spawned by an 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Many coastal communities were destroyed and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged, releasing radiation 10 m-high waves swept over the east coast of Japan, killing more than 18,000 people, Most expensive disaster in history: ~$235 billion.
    Lisbon, Portugal,
    1 November 1755
    A magnitude 8.5 earthquake produced a series of three huge waves that struck various towns along the west coast of Portugal and Spain. Tsunami was up to 30 m high in some places The earthquake and tsunami killed an estimated 60,000 people in the Portugal, Spain, and Morocco.
    Krakatoa, Indonesia,
    27 August 1883
    This tsunami event was caused by explosive eruptions of the Krakatoa caldera volcano in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. Multiple waves as high as 37 m. The event killed about 40,000 people in total; however, about 2,000 deaths were from the volcanic eruptions.
    Enshunada Sea, Japan, 20 September 1498 An earthquake estimated about magnitude 8.3, caused tsunami waves along the coasts of Izu, Kii, Mikawa, Sagami, and Surugu (Japan). Coastal communities were washed away; estimated 31,000 people were killed.
    Nankaido, Japan,
    28 October 1707
    A magnitude 8.4 earthquake caused tsunamis as high as 25 m that swept onto the Pacific coasts of Kyushyu, Shikoku and Honshin. About 30,000 buildings were damaged and about 30,000 people were killed.

    Sanriku, Japan,
    15 June 1896

    An estimated magnitude 7.6 earthquake off the coast of Sanriku, Japan generated a tsunami reported to have reached a height of 38.2 m. 11,000 homes destroyed and 22,000 people killed in Japan; 4,000 also killed in China.
    Northern Chile,
    13 August 1868
    Earthquakes estimated at magnitude 8.5, off the coast of Africa, Peru (now Chile). Tsunamis affected entire Pacific Rim; waves reported up to 21 m high over two and three days. Estimated 25,000 deaths and an $300 million in damages caused by the tsunamis and earthquakes along Peru-Chile coasts.
    Ryuku Islands, Japan,
    24 April 1771
    A magnitude 7.4 earthquake produced a tsunami that damaged coastal communities on Ishigaki and Miyako Islands and others in the region. Tsunamis were 11 to 15 m high. Tsunami destroyed 3,137 homes and about12,000 people were killed.
    Ise Bay, Japan,
    18 January 1586
    An earthquake that caused a tsunami estimated to be about magnitude 8.2. The tsunamis rose to a height of 6 m. Earthquake and following fired destroyed most of a city. 8000 people were killed.
    Simple tsunami origin animation (NOAA) - How tsunamis form from an earthquake.
    Three Chile Tsunamis animation (PTWC) - Breakout animations of tsunamis of different intensities.
    Drawback before arrival of 2004 tsunamis in Sri Lanka tsunami 2010 Japan Whirlpool caused by tsunami in Japan, 2011
    Figure 10.34. Drawback from tsunami in Sri Lanka exposed about 150 meters before the tsunamis arrived from 2004 earthquake. Figure 10.35. Tsunamis arriving on coast of Thailand, 2004 Figure 10.36. Giant whirlpool caused by the Japan, 2011 tsunamis (note the boat for scale).
    Tsunami sources Tsunami travel time from 1960 earthquake in Chili Tsunami travel time from 2011 earthquake in Japan Tsunami amplitude map of Japan earthquake, 2011
    Figure 10.37. Map showing locations of tsunami-generating earthquakes Figure 10.38. Map of tsunami travel times generated by magnitude 9.5 earthquake Chili, 22 May, 1960. Figure 10.39. Map of tsunami travel time from magnitude 9.0 earthquake in northern Japan, 11 March 2011 Figure 10.40. Maximum wave amplitude of tsunami from northern Japan, 11 March 2011
    Tsunami Damage from the 2004 Sumatra tsunami
    Banda Aceh before 2004 tsunami Banda Aceh after 2004 earthquake Only a brick mosque survived tsunami damage in Banda Aceh, 2004 tsunami Tsunami 2004 runup
    Figure 10.41. Banda Aceh, Indonesia before 2004 tsunami

    Figure 10.42. Banda Aceh, Indonesia after 2004 tsunami

    Figure 10.43. Mosque survived 2004 tsunami in Banda Aceh, Sumatra

    Figure 10.44. Vegetation stripped from hillsides by run up: Banda Aceh, Sumatra tsunami 2004
    Examples of Tsunami Damage
    Tsunami damage on Sri Lanka, 2004 Damage from a 1993 tsunami in Japan Tsunami damage from the Alaska 1964 tsunami Tsunami damage from the 2011 earthquake in Japan
    Figure 10.45. The Sumatra 2004 earthquake caused damage in Sri Lanka 2,000 miles away. Figure 10.46. Damage from the Tsunami of July 12, 1993, a magnitude 7.6 in the Sea of Japan near Hokkaido. The tsunami was 32 meters high on Okishuri, Island. Figure 10.47. Tsunami damage in Kodiak, Alaska from the March 27,1964 earthquake (magnitude 9.2) Figure 10.48. March 11, 2011 Tohoku Japan earthquake and tsunami
    Tsunami Warning System
    Tsunami Dart Alert System tsunami buoy Pacific Tsunami Warning_system Everything you ever wanted to know about tsunamis, and more:

    Pacific Tsunami Warning Center website.

    Learn about: Tsunami Paleogeohistory of San Diego County
    Figure 10.49 & 50. DART Buoy and DART tsunami warning system (left). Figure 10.51. Location of tsunami warning system buoys around Pacific and Atlantic basins.

    Tsunami videos (as of July, 2019)

    Indonesia Tsunami 2004 (NOAA): Tsunami waves move out animation of Indian Ocean

    Japanese 2011 Tsunami caught on CCTV: YouTube video

    Incredible TSUNAMI in Kamaishi City - Complete Edition (Japan)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRyM1ujSwrM

    Thailand Tsunamis 2004, raw footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7WyJ4S1Pdc

    Helicopter view of Japan 2011 tsunamis: YouTube video

    Scale of the TSUNAMI Power - Educating Document: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eh5aq_GeUY

    Tsunami surfing
    Figure 10.52. Surfing a tsunami wave? (Not recommended!)