What Was the Tallest Tsunami Ever Recorded?

The tallest tsunami ever recorded was about 1,700 feet (534 m) in 1958 at Lituya, Alaska. An earthquake along the Alaskan Panhandle caused rocks to fall off cliffs from heights of about 3,000 feet (914 m), which then disturbed the sea floor of the Gulf of Alaska and resulted in the tsunami wave. The force of the high wave was so strong, it swept the entire length of Lituya Bay — a distance of about 7 miles (11.3 km) — and removed millions of trees and other plants from the area. Due to the low population of the area, the tsunami resulted in just two fatalities, both from an overturned fishing boat.

More about tsunamis:

  • A tsunami near ancient Sicily is thought to have reached across the entire Mediterranean Sea and to have been as tall as a 10-story building, but there are no historical records of it.

  • The 2004 Indonesia tsunami is estimated to have had the highest death toll, at more than 230,000 people, which is partially thought to be due to a lack of aid as well as unsanitary conditions in the aftermath.

  • About 80% of all tsunamis occur in an area of the Pacific Ocean referred to as the “Ring of Fire,” a 25,000-mile (40,000-km) stretch from South America to New Zealand.
More Info: geology.com

Discussion Comments


Despite being quite young at the time, I remember hearing about the Indonesia tsunami when it happened. My memories are pretty vague, but I do remember the sadness and devastation. It was pretty unexpected, although the commercial donations were absolutely beautiful.


@Viranty - I've never dealt with tsunamis either, so I don't know an exact answer, but I'll try to help the best that I can. I think the best advice I could give is to leave the area completely (out of country/state), and always watch on the news for any incoming storms. Honestly, I don't think staying indoors or finding shelter would help much. Tsunamis can be very destructive, and are a literal force of nature.


Thankfully, I've never had an experience with tsunamis before, but does anyone know what the best way to prepare for one is? In case I ever take a trip to an area that's known for those, I want to make sure that I'm prepared.

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