Tsunamis and Tidal Waves

Created by: Faith Villanueva

tsu·na·mi (ts-näm) noun plural tsu·na·mis
A very large ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption.

Hilo, Hawaii

Two giant tsunamis have thrashed the small city of Hilo in Hawaii once in 1946, and another time in 1960. Buildings were obliterated, cars chunked into the sides of buildings.
There have been many tsunamis in the city of Hilo, the one in 1946 was caused by an earthquake adjacent to the Aleutian Islands which measured 7.3. 159 people, in total were killed and/or injured in the 1946 tsunami. Also during this tsunami, a sum of school children were killed, not knowing that receding waves indicated an expected tsunami. This tsunami is said to be the worst tsunami the United States have ever indured.

Damage from a boxcar, to Hatada Bakery

Okino Hotel

In 1960, this tsunami was generated from a 8.3 earthquake in Chile, about 10,000 km away!!! The tremendous power of this Chilean formed tsunami bent parking meters, and liquidated and buildings that weren't reinforced by structural steel of concrete. There was a total of 537 buildings that were destroyed. This was the source of 61 deaths, and $23 million dollars in damages.

Looking at the damages, across from the Hilo Theatre


One of the 537 buildings destroyed

Destruction by the tsunami:

Parking Meters

Many of the amazing photos that are featured in this site can be seen at these following links, from the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawaii:

Tsunami of 1946
Tsunami of 1960

These are more tsunami websites regarding the tsunami at Hilo, Hawaii(also with pictures!):

Hilo Hawaii 1946 Tsunami -- With animation!
1960 Chilean Tsunami
1960 Tsunami Destruction in Hawaii
Seismic Evaluation in Water Bodies

Kodiak, Alaska

March 27 1964, thirty foot wave crashed at the shores of Kodaik, Alaska. This tsunami eradicated many coastal communities. This tsunami drove many harbor boat zealots to their doom, for six fishermen died trying to save their boats from the tidal wave.

Aftermath of the Kodiak Tsunami

To learn more of the effects of the Kodiak Tsunami, please visit these links:

USC Tsunami Research Group
The Great Alaskan Tsunami
Coast Guard Sea Cruises
Amazing photos from M.Tomczak for the effects of the Kodiak tsunami
The Tsunami Page of Dr. George P.C.

Tsunami Stats

*** The tallest tsunami ever recorded was at Lituya Bay, Alaska. July 7th, 1958, 1638 foot tall waves that were caused by a huge ice/rock fall. This is twice the size of the Eiffel Tower!! These waves were taller than the tallest structure in the world, the Patroness Towers, which is 1450 feet tall!!!
*** An hour long tsunami hitting Lisbon, Portugal drowns approximately 60,000 people! This occurred on November 1, 1755 and after this tsunami, only 15% of all buildings were still standing!
*** A 35 foot tsunami hits the island of Krakatoa. The year was 1883 when Sumatra and Java was hit by this tsunami. This tsunami was caused by a volcanic eruption, and killed 36,420 people.
These tsunami statistics were provided by these sites, one of which has some abstract view of spelling dangerous:

Tsunami Statistics
WonderQuest -- With other tsunami links!
West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center --All you want to know-- In PDF


All I can say is that is pronounced SAYSH, and it is the effect of the sloshing of water back and forth. This seiche is caused by earthquakes and/or tsunamis. If a tsunami enters a harbor or bay, this can also trigger a seiche. Seiches are caused everyday in the Great Lake area by strong winds.

To learn more about seiches, please visit these sites:

WonderQuest -- Seiches
What is a seiche? -- With animation!

Other cool tsunami sites not featured in the above information:

Savage Earth : Waves of Destruction
Got a question about science? Go to the WonderQuest index!
West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

Copyright © 2003 Tsunami Disaster Project, All rights reserved
Author .:. Faith Villanueva®