January 26, 2013 – 3,422 Years of Major Global Tsunamis: I downloaded all tsunamis, from 1410 B.C. to 2012, from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) database and graphed the top 20 countries (see above). The top five were Japan (250), Indonesia (67), Russia (63), the United States (56), and Chile (39).
Tsunamis have many causes besides earthquakes, as shown in the table below:
The graph of those 11 cause codes is shown below:
As you can see, 682 tsunamis where caused by earthquakes; however, 49 were cause by an earthquake which induced a landslide, 47 were from volcanic eruptions and 32 were from landslides. Smaller numbers were seen from three other categories as shown. The explosion, under cause code #10; was on the December 16, 1917 Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada explosion.
Two ships, loaded with wartime explosives, collided in Halifax Harbor; creating a huge explosion. The explosion caused a tsunami in the harbor and a pressure wave of air that snapped trees, bent iron rails, demolished buildings, grounded vessels, and carried fragments of the ships involved in the collision for miles. Until the Trinity test explosion of and atomic bomb at Los Alamos, NM; it was the largest man-made explosion in recorded history.
Here are the 3,422 years’ worth of major tsunamis plotted by month:
In the coming days, I’ll discuss some of the more significant tsunamis. Of the 823 major tsunamis that occurred over more than three millennia; there are some amazing facts. For example, the highest wave generated was 1,722 feet; which happened on July 1, 1958 in Southeast Alaska when an 8.3 magnitude earthquake caused a landslide that created the tsunami.
The Master of Disaster