Natural disasters happen mostly on a large scale with tsunami occurrences being frequent throughout the history of humans on earth. Though tsunamis occur in every ocean body, a larger percentage occur in the pacific ocean, particularly in the ring of fire. As the waves of a tsunami move closer to the shallow water very close to the land, it causes the faster travelling water to get pulled up at the same time which vertically extends the waves.
The highest death rates these disasters have had are long lost in history. For instance, the Mediterranean island of Stroggli has been believed to be erased completely by a tsunami that wiped out the whole Minoan civilization in 1500BC. The number of lives lost can never be known.
Scientist have been able to make an estimate of some other tsunami occurrences after that, with their death toll and an estimated cost of the damage. A list of ten largest and most scary tsunami ever known in history have been compiled below.
1. 18th January 1586 tsunami, Ise Bay, Japan
The Ise Bay tsunami was caused by an earthquake with a magnitude estimated at 8.2. The wave was reported to have risen to a height of about 6m. The tsunami caused damage to a lot of towns, Nagahama town even had an occurrence of fire outbreak which destroyed about half of the city when the first earthquake happened. The Biwa Lake near the town overflowed into the town and wiped it away, leaving nothing but the castle. Over 8000 deaths were caused by the tsunami in Ise Bay and an irreparable damage was done.
2. 1707 tsunami, Tokaido-Nankaido, Japan
The earthquake was of a magnitude of 8.4 but it produced a wave as high as 25 meters which swallowed the nearby coastal regions which are Honshin, Shikoku, Osaka and Kyushu. This tsunami occurred for only an hour but it eradicated about 30,000 people with its several kilometer spread inland.
3. 1771 tsunami, Ryukyu Islands
A very scary earthquake registered with a magnitude of about 7.4 resulted to a 40 to 80 meters high tsunami wave. This occurrence was said to have wiped out the whole of an islet. One third of the population of the island was eradicated with over 12,000 lives lost to the disaster.
4. 13th August 1868 Tsunami, Northern Chile
The Northern Chile tsunami event occurred as a result of two magnificent earthquakes with a magnitude estimated at 8.5 off Arica coast in Chile. The Pacific Rim was mostly affected by this wave with which was found to be as high as 21m. The Arica tsunami lasted for about two to three days and it was registered by six tidal gauges even as far as Sydney in Australia. The total death recorded was about 25,000 and the disaster caused was by the tsunami and earthquake was estimated at $300 million.
5. 26th August 1883 tsunami, Krakatoa Indonesia
Accumulations of reoccurrence explosions spurred eruption in Krakatoa and formed a volcanic eruption on 26th and 27th of August. ‘\The spread of the sound produced from the volcanic eruption was over 3000 miles away from the island chain that they were recorded as the loudest ever heard in modern day history. Three peaks were formed from the eruption which emitted energy up to four times the one produced by Tsar Bomba. This very scary disaster was then capped with a spree of tsunami which wiped off over 40,000 people.
6. 28th December 1908 earthquake and tsunami, Messina Italy
The earthquake that happened on this fateful day was reported to be very short, it lasted for less than one minute and registered a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale. Shortly after the incidence, tsunami engulfed the coastal areas near the city and it erased about 70,000 people. The tsunami was said not have been caused by the earthquake, but by a landslide that occurred under the sea. An estimation of about 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed due to the incidence.
7. May 22, 1960 earthquake and tsunami, Southern Chile
One of the scariest and biggest earthquakes in history was the southern Chile quake and tsunami which occurred along the coast of Chile. A magnitude of 9.5 was recorded on the Richter scale and about 80 foot waves was sent pounding hard from the shore about 15 minutes after the occurrence of the earthquake. The tsunami waves spread in batches, and moved towards Hilo, Hawaii. Several hours after the earthquake which was estimated to be for about 15 hours, faced Japan and after about 22 hours it got to Hawaii.
The Aleutian island, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the Philippines were also affected greatly by this tsunami occurrence. A record of about 6000 deaths were made with about $400 to $800 million worth of damage done.
8. 1975 Portugal- Morocco tsunami
On all saints’ day celebration in Portugal, Lisbon 1755, the city and its neighboring areas were afflicted with a very scary earthquake of magnitude of 9.0 which affected some part of Greenland, Africa, the Caribbean and Finland.
This earthquake was so scary that the center of Lisbon city was opened as wide as 15 feet down the earth. People fled their homes to open spaces only to be amazed by the receding water in the center of the city, showing the floor of the sea. Three massive tsunami waves hit the area after about 40 minutes which pushed people to run for their dear lives. Other parts of the country were inundated with fire which lasted up to 5 days.
The tsunami waves reached many other neighboring areas and the Atlantic Ocean. About 10,000 people were victims of the incident in Morocco while the total lives lost to this disaster amounted to about 60,000 to 100,000.
9. 26 December 2004 tsunami, Sumatra Indonesia
The tsunami occurred along the coast of Sumatra with a 9.1 magnitude earthquake which was about 30 kilometers deep. The zone that was responsible for the tsunami was as long as 1300km, displacing the floor of the sea in a vertical manner by a wide range of meters along its length.
The tsunami grew taller to a 50m length and it reached 5 km on land near Meubolah, Sumatra. The Sumatra Indonesia tsunami still remained the most widely recorded, with over one thousand tide gauge in measurement, combined with eye witness around the world reporting a skyrocketed rise in the height of waves, even in the UK, US and Antarctica.
The damage done by this tsunami was estimated around $10 billion with over 230,000 people reported dead.
10. 2011 tsunami and earthquake, Tohoku
The scariest and largest earthquake that has been recorded to have hit japan was the one in 2011. The earthquake was of a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale and it was ushered in by large foreshocks and aftershocks. An enormous amount of energy was produced by the earthquake which occurred for some minutes before the occurrence of the resultant tsunami.
The waves were as high as 30 meters over the land and it spread to hundreds of kilometers of land. Being the most expensive tsunami in record, the Tohoku tsunami cost up to $300 billion, with 15,884 lives lost to the disaster.