Natural and Man-Made Disasters


Has a tsunami ever hit the United States?

Yes, in fact the tallest tsunami ever recorded hit Alaska in 1964; it was 220 feet high. The March 28 event was brought on by an earthquake—the Great Alaskan Earthquake in Prince William Sound—measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale. The seismic wave (tsunami) hit the southwest part of the state and claimed 107 lives.

Hawaii also sees an occasional tsunami, or giant wave, though the most remarkable one hit the islands before they became a state. On April 1, 1946, all of the water drained from the three-mile-wide harbor at Hilo, which was immediately followed by a tsunami that rushed onshore, destroying the waterfront. The process repeated itself twice and resulted in the death of more than 150 people in Hawaii.


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