major tsunami occurred Pacific-wide, causing damage as far as San Diego, CA.
January 31, 1906 – Ecuador
A black and white image of buildings destroyed by the Ecuador earthquake
This earthquake occurred off the coast of Ecuador and killed between 500-1,500 people from its ensuing tsunami. This tsunami affected the entire Pacific, reaching the shores of Japan approximately 20 hours later.
February 4, 1965 – Alaska
Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images
This earthquake ruptured a 600-km segment of the Aleutian Islands. It generated a tsunami around 35 feet high on a nearby island, but caused very little other damage to a state devastated a year earlier when the “Good Friday Earthquake” hit the region.
Other Historical Earthquakes
Tsunami travel time for 1755 Portugal earthquake.
Estimated tsunami travel time for 1755 Portugal earthquake. NOAA/Department of Commerce
Of course, earthquakes occurred before 1900, they were just not measured as accurately. Here are some notable pre-1900 earthquakes with estimated magnitude and, when available, intensity:
August 13, 1868 – Arica, Peru (now Chile): Estimated magnitude: 9.0; Mercalli intensity: XI.
November 1, 1755 – Lisbon, Portugal: Estimated magnitude: 8.7; Mercalli intensity: X.
January 26, 1700 – Cascadia Region (Pacific Northwest), United States and Canada: Estimated magnitude: ~9. This earthquake is known from written records of its subsequent tsunami in Japan.
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