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3.5 Billion years AgoLong prior to Earth"s landmasses looked together they perform today, a 12- to 30-mile-widemeteor smacked into the ocean somewhere top top the planet and also started a tsunamipowerful enough to inundate every land areas. Just the tallest mountains remainedabove water. Scientists have discovered remnants the the catastrophe in several of theoldest rocks ~ above Earth—in western Australia"s Pilbara Block and also in SouthAfrica"s Barberton Greenstone Belt. They space still actively searching for theenormous crater the affect would have actually created.

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Thera, old Greece, 1645 B.C.The volcano eruption of the old Greek island the Thera was among thelargest in hundreds of years. Thera"s blast collapsed its cone, developing atsunami regularly blamed because that the loss of the Minoan world on surrounding Crete.Little scientific proof for this theory existed until recently, whengeologists finally uncovered proof the the tsunami"s waves were massive whenthey struggle Crete. They would have ruined ports, crippled the naval economy,and caused devastating chop failures, potentially catalyzing the Minoans"decline in succeeding years. Research into Thera"s tsunami is ongoing.

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Cascadia Fault, January 26, 1700Geologists freshly uncovered proof in dead trees and also layers the mud and sandthat a substantial earthquake ruptured the entire Cascadia fault follow me thewest coastline of the U.S. In 1700. They think a tsunami created there and also rippledacross the Pacific, reaching Hawaii, Japan, and even Australia. Indeed, recordsfrom Japan explain a powerful "orphan" tsunami on that day who earthquakewas not felt. The Cascadia fault has experienced at the very least seven quakes in thelast 3,500 years, all of them between 300 and 1,000 year apart. It has been305 years due to the fact that the critical event, and experts say the next one could occur in ~ anytime.

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Krakatoa, Indonesia, respectable 27, 1883After 300 year of dormancy, the tiny volcanic island of Krakatoa in between Javaand Sumatra erupted and also collapsed in 1883, killing much more than 36,000 people.Most victims passed away from the substantial tsunami the blast unleashed. Mountains ofseawater an ext than 140 feet high and carrying 600-ton blocks of coral wiped outdozens of towns along the coastline of Java and also Sumatra. The economic situation of theregion was disrupted for hundreds of miles. Krakatoa produced the first tsunamirecorded and also studied worldwide by scientists and, as among the many destructivetsunamis in history, it continues to offer as a an useful example for tsunamiexperts.

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Aleutian Islands, Alaska, April 1, 1946For virtually 60 years, the top theory around this tsunami claimed that apowerful underwater earthquake prompted it. However a seafloor-mapping projectrecently performed at the Scripps institution of Oceanography found no evidenceto support this idea, forcing experts to rethink your theory. They space tryingto recognize what event could have developed the wave"s damaging force,allowing it to pummel Hawaii through 60-foot waters more than 5 hours after ~ itdid its an initial damage in Alaska, where neighborhood surges climbed to 138 feet. Thetsunami killed 123 people and also cost millions of dollars in damages.

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Lituya Bay, Alaska, July 9, 1958Tsunamis typically reach a best vertical elevation onshore, dubbed a run-upheight, of no an ext than 100 feet above sea level. A notable exception was the1958 tsunami motivated by a landslide in a narrow bay ~ above Alaska"s coast. Itsover 1,700-foot wave was the largest ever recorded because that a tsunami. That inundatedfive square mile of land and also cleared thousands of thousands of trees.Remarkably, just two fatalities occurred. In the wake up of the Lituya tsunami,scientists realized because that the very first time the a landslide—90 million tonsof absent in the situation of Lituya—could develop a giant wave.

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Valdivia, Chile, may 22, 1960The biggest earthquake ever before measured, a 9.5, began a collection of tsunamis inthe Pacific ocean that devastated Hawaii. The waves also reached Japan, 10,000miles far from the epicenter, whereby they took 122 of the about 5,000total resides lost. The Chilean tsunami taught experts two vital lessons:that one earthquake felt on land deserve to warn of a tsunami, as have the right to a rapid rise orfall of coastal waters. After the 1960 wave, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centerwas attached to an worldwide data and warning network because that the an initial time. Ituses thousands of seismic stations an international to evaluate tsunami threats in thePacific, where most occur.

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Indian Ocean, December 26, 2004With over 250,000 civilization dead or missing, the 2004 tsunami was among the many catastrophicnatural catastrophes in modern-day times. A size 9.0 earthquake in the seafloormore 보다 18 miles listed below the Indian Ocean"s surface resulted in the wave. Itreleased enough energy, scientists estimate, to boil 40 gallons of water forevery human on Earth. None of the countries most severely impacted had atsunami warning system to alert human being of the impending wave, and also sincetsunamis are rare in the Indian Ocean, local human being did not understand to flee inland ~ atremor. Experts about the world are currently looking at ways to stop a similarfuture catastrophe.

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Canary Islands, FutureOne group of researchers believes that problems are ideal for a tsunami-producinglandslide on the island that La Palma in the Canaries. The western flank of theisland"s active volcano has actually the potential to give means in a future eruption. Ifit did, a large mass of rock weighing 500,000 million loads would autumn into theAtlantic Ocean. Professionals in Switzerland have simulated the potential effects ofsuch a collapse. Their version shows the it could generate a wave qualified ofengulfing every harbor on the east shore of the U.S., i beg your pardon they believe may havehappened throughout a similar tsunami 120,000 year ago.

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Wave that the FutureWhat will it require to be prepared for the next major tsunami?

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Ask the ExpertTsunami professional Lori Dengler answer viewers" e-mailed questions.

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Anatomy the a TsunamiFollow the life bicycle of the 2004 tsunami on this interactive map.

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Once and Future TsunamisLearn about ten fatal tsunamis—and wherein the next can strike.