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Largest Earthquakes in the World

1952 November 04 16:58:26.0 UTC
Magnitude 9.0

Location of Kamchatka Earthquake, 1952 Nov 04 Location of Kamchatka Earthquake, 1952 Nov 04, closer detail

N.B: The magnitude for this earthquake has been recalculated since the following articles were written. Magnitude 9.0 is a better determination of the size of this earthquake.

A severe and locally damaging tsunami generated on Kamchatka by a magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the Hawaiian Islands at 1:00 P.M. Property damage from these waves was estimated at $800,000 to $1,000,000; however, no lives were lost. The waves beached boats, caused houses to collide, destroyed piers, scoured beaches, moved road pavement, etc. A farmer on Oahu reported 6 cows killed. In Honolulu harbor, waves tore a cement barge from its moorings and hurled it against the freighter Hawaiian Packer. At Pearl Harbor, Oahu, the tsunami was evidenced by the periodic rise and fall of the water, but no damage was done. Loomis (1967) reports wave heights of 9.1 m at Kaena Point, Oahu. Pararas-Carayannis and Calebaugh, (1977) report much damage on Oahu's north coast including Waialua. A boathouse worth $13,000 was demolished in Hilo when water 2.4 m high swept over the wharf. One span of the bridge to Coconut Island was destroyed. The highest wave on Hawaii of 3.5 m above MLLW (or 3.2 m above the tide stage) was reported here and at Reed's Bay. The Naniloa Hotel had flood damage. Houses were knocked from their foundations. Coast Guard buoys weighing 11 metric tons were ripped loose from their moorings. Damage in Hilo, Hawaii was estimated at $400,000. Damage on Maui was greatest in the Kahului-Spreckelsville area. The wave caused the tide gaga at Kahului to go off scale and stop recording. Pararas-Carayannis and Calebaugh report 10.4 m at Haena Point, Kauai, but this is identical to the value for the March 3, 1957 tsunami and is probably a misplaced value. They also report much damage to the north coast of Kauai.

From Lander and Lockridge, 1989, Tsunami in Hawaii.

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the Kamchatka Peninsula produced a tsunami that was observed in Alaska. At Massacre Bay, Attu the wave had an amplitude of 2.7 m and a period of about 17 minutes. This record was observed on the tide staff as the gage was not operating initially and the record was clipped. Low-lying areas were flooded. At Sweeper Cove, Adak the tsunami had an amplitude of about 1.1 m and slightly overflowed the banks of the harbor. At Dutch Harbor, Unalaska the schools were closed, and the people evacuated to higher ground, but the wave was only 0.6 m high. It was widely recorded elsewhere throughout Alaska with amplitudes of 0.3 m or less.

From Lander and Lockridge, 1989, Tsunami in Alaska

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the east coast of Kamchatka generated 13-m waves locally. In California the amplitude of the wave was 1.4 m at Avila, 1.0 m at Crescent City, and less than 1 m elsewhere on the West Coast.

From Lander and Lockridge, 1989, Tsunami on West Coast of United States

See also:
November 4, 1952 Kamchatka Tsunami
1952 Kamchatka Peninsula Tsunami


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