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Most Destructive Tsunamis In History – The Giant Rogue Wave Of Nature

Destructive Tsunamis In History
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Mother nature is unpredictable! While she is the one who soothes and caresses us, she has the power to destroy everything as well. While there are other distinctive examples of this destruction such as landslides and famines, earthquakes and tsunamis are reserved the first seats! This article will give you an insight into the most destructive tsunamis in history that rendered humankind helpless and vulnerable to the rage of Mother Nature! 

But, before we directly jump onto the most destructive tsunamis in history, it is important to understand the true meaning of the term. Also, know about the destructive 1960 Chile Earthquake Tsunami, Indian ocean Tsunami and more.

Tsunamis And Earthquakes 

The word “Tsunami” is derived from two Japanese words, “Tsu” meaning Harbor, and “Nami” meaning waves. While tsunamis existed from time immemorial, since the creation of oceans and seas, humankind came to know about this natural phenomenon years later! 

While the two, earthquakes and tsunamis are used metaphorically interchangeably, both aren’t the same! Generally triggered by the dislocation of tectonic plates under the ocean floor, caused by an earthquake, tsunamis are caused by the displacement of water from the seas and oceans.

Besides the aftermath of earthquakes, they can also be generated due to volcanic eruptions, meteorite hits, and landslides. But, while it is commonly believed that the larger the tidal waves of a tsunami, the more it is likely to create a catastrophe. But, according to scientists and experts, the truth is far from that! While there are very limited data on the size of waves of the most destructive tsunamis in history, scientists rank the severity of a tsunami based on how much damage and destruction it has caused. 

Most Destructive Tsunamis In History 

The huge catastrophic waves, i.e. the most destructive tsunamis in history are the ones that have made the human population realize that they are nothing before the power of Mother Nature. This section will throw light on some of the most destructive tsunamis in history of mankind. 

1. 1960 Chile Earthquake Tsunami – May 22

On 22nd May 1960, the 1960 Chile Earthquake Tsunami, one of the largest earthquakes on record struck the southern coast of Chile, killing about 5,700 people and creating seismic sea waves that caused death and destruction in distant Pacific coastal areas, notably Japan and Hawaii. The magnitude on the seismometer recorded a reading of about 9.5 rating, which is to date considered one of the most destructive tsunamis in history! 

1960 Chile Earthquake Tsunami

2. Lituya Bay Megatsunami – July 9,1958

One of the most destructive tsunamis in history, having the highest height of 1,719 feet had a magnitude of about 7.8 to 8.3 rating. The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake in the Fairweather Fault which is considered the deadliest tsunami in human history. 

3. The Indian Ocean Tsunami December 26, 2004

With a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter scale, the Indian Ocean tsunami caused havoc in several countries including Indonesia, India, and Thailand. The most catastrophic tsunami in human history, this deadliest phenomenon cost about 230,000 lives and caused great environmental damage and destruction as well. Thousands of people have been swept away in the huge tidal waves. 

4. The Alaska Good Friday Earthquake Tsunami – March 27, 1967

One of the most destructive and catastrophic earthquake-tsunami that swept the lands of North America, the Alaska Good Friday earthquake-tsunami had a 9.2 magnitude rating and lasted for about 4 minutes, enough to cause heavy destruction and chaos. 

5. Ise Bay Tsunami – Jan 18, 1586

The Ise Bay tsunami of Japan that caused more than 8,000 deaths recorded an estimated magnitude of 8.2 ratings, reaching a height of about 6m, bringing an end to a large number of towns and localities! In the aftermath, a fire explosion was witnessed, causing more chaos and panic. 


Besides the ones listed above, other most destructive tsunamis in the history of mankind include the Sunda Strait tsunami that occurred recently a few years back among others such as the Sanriku earthquake tsunami. While a majority of them swept the area when the world was not prepared which added to the plight of the people, in recent years, the tsunami research centers and departments are now taking major preventive steps to tackle the havoc efficiently.

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