While tsunamis came to the forefront of the world’s attention when the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami hit the coast of Sumatra, they have taken place several times in the past. There are very destructive and deadliest tsunamis in terms of loss of lives caused by them or magnitude.
Sumatra, Indonesia – 26 December 2004
A colossal earthquake with a 9.1 magnitude struck the coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004 resulting in an ensuing tsunami which killed an estimated 230,000 people and caused US$10b in property damage. Known as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, this tsunami reached to a height of 50 m and travelled 5 km inland near Meubolah, Sumatra and caused destruction in as a many as 14 countries.
Lisbon, Portugal -1 November 1755
The colossal earthquake that took place in Lisbon in 1755, registered 9.0 on the Richter scale. That quake in this coastal city of Portugal and much of Europe triggered a tsunami that killed as many as 100,000 people in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The incident cased extensive damage to Lisbon which lost one fourth of its populace. The famous philosopher Voltaire penned a poem on this colossal loss of life.
North Pacific Coast, Japan – 11 March 2011
A powerful tsunami generated by an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude over the east coast of Japan resulting in the death of over 18,000 people. According to the estimates of the World Bank, it will take five years to financially overcome the $235 billion damages.
Prince William Sound, Alaska – 27 March, 1964
The Alaskan Good Friday earthquake which is considered to be the largest one in North America resulted in a tsunami that travelled at a speed of over 400 mph. Though the loss of life was just more than 100 people, the tsunami caused extensive damage to large parts of the Alaskan coastline. The earthquake had a magnitude of 9.2.
Krakatau, Indonesia – 27 August 1883
Eruptions from the Krakatau caldera volcano triggered tsunamis and shockwaves that killed about 40,000 people. Several waves as high as 37 m swept the Indonesian Islands of southern Sumatra and western Java and destroyed the towns of Merak and Anjer.