The fury of Tsunamis has been known to the world since time immemorial. The world has experienced some extremely devastating Tsunamis which led to a large number of casualties and death. Tsunamis are generated due to the seismic waves under the ocean floor, which leads to significant displacement of water, thus claiming thousands of lives. The following list comprises of the 13 biggest tsunamis in the world.
1. The Tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia, 2004
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230,000 people were reported dead in this disaster which took place on the 26th of December 2004. An earthquake of magnitude of 9.1 occurred off the coast of Sumatra at a depth of 30 km. The fault zone was around 1300 km long. The 50m tall Tsunami ensured devastation left, right and center. It was one of the most widely recorded Tsunamis in the world, an estimated disaster of $10 billion was reported. It is the third largest earthquake to have ever been recorded on a seismograph. The duration lasted for 8.3 to 10 minutes, which lead to tremors being felt as far as Alaska. Also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, it led to numerous aftershocks in the epicenter along with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Around 14 countries were affected by it.
2. The Tsunami in Messina, Italy, 1908
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The cities of Messina and Reggio woke up to a massive earthquake on the 28th of December 1908. The earthquake lasted for less than a minute and its intensity was recorded at 7.1 according to the Richter scale. It was this earthquake which led to an undersea landslide, giving birth to a mammoth tsunami thus claiming around 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 lives. The waves were as long as 12 meters tall and both the cities of Messina and Reggio were absolutely destroyed, almost 91% of the structures were annihilated.
3. The Tsunami in Tohoku, Japan, 2011
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The Tsunami at Tohoku was the fifth largest and the most powerful earthquake/Tsunami recorded in history and the biggest tsunami in Japan. Registered at a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter Scale, it lasted for several minutes. The kind of seismic waves produced by this Tsunami could have easily provided a buzzing city with energy for about a year. The Tsunami inundated several thousands of kilometers of land and the waves were as tall as 30 meters. Large foreshocks preceded the Tsunami followed by a series of aftershocks. The devastation costed around $300 billion dollars, and around 16,000 people lost their lives.
4. Tsunami in Lisbon, Portugal, 1755
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Also remembered as the Great Lisbon Earthquake this Tsunami took place on the 1st of November 1755. As per modern day seismologists, it is estimated that the earthquake must have been 8.5 to 9.0 on the Richter Scale making it one of the biggest tsunamis in the world. Perhaps this is the reason why this Tsunami nearly destroyed the entire city of Lisbon. The death toll could have been anywhere between 10,000 to 1,00,000. The epicenter lay in the Atlantic Ocean, and it is regarded as one of the most deadly and horrific Tsunamis in history. Three large Tsunami waves inundated the area after 40 minutes of the earthquake, leading to massive casualties and destruction. The waves spread far and wide, up until Morocco.
5. Tsunami in Southern Chile, 1960
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This was perhaps the biggest Tsunami in the world. The magnitude was 9.5 on the Richter scale. The quake took place on the western coast of Chile, which lead to a massive Tsunami just 15 minutes later. Waves as high as 80 feet pounded on the shores of Chile, and were responsible for over 6,000 deaths. Countries such as the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand the entire Southeast Asia were affected by this example of nature’s fury. The massive tsunami occurred on the 22nd of May 1960 and caused damage worth $400 to $800 million.
6. Lituya Bay Tsunami, 1958
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On July 9th,1958, the Lituya Bay experienced a mega tsunami which took place after an earthquake of magnitude 7.8. The earthquake which took place on the Fairweather Fault led to massive destruction. This event triggered a rockslide of around 30 million cubic meters. The echoing impact of this event could be felt and heard as far as 50 miles away. All of this led to a megatsunami which rose as high as 1722 meters and destroyed everything which came in its way. The Lituya Bay Tsunami is one of the most significant mega tsunamis in modern times.