21 January, 2019 21 January, 2019

The 500m High Wave that Rocked Alaska

Naught bru, that wasn’t a typo we being for real here. Granted it happened in 1958 but I bet you’ve never heard about it. July 9, 1958, in Lituya Bay, on the southeast of Alaska, an earthquake triggered a series of events that resulted in what can only be described as a megatsunami resulting in the largest recorded wave in history.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake brought about one helluva rockslide displacing over 30.6 million cubic meters of rubble in the Gilbert Inlet. So basically a huge ass mountain gave birth to a mini-mountain and sent it rolling on down the hill straight into the frigid water below. If this wave went to high school, people would be up in the bleachers yelling FREAK. The wave measured between 100 feet (30 meters) and 300 feet (91 meters), but the subsequent breaking wave became much, MAAAAAAAAHHHUCH bigger.

The topography plus the science behind the impact of the broken off mini mountain slamming into the water are both huge factors that allowed such a beast to rise from a relatively shallow basin. What is even more remarkable than the fact that a wave got that colossal was that a boat out in the bay at the time managed to ride the wave with its crew all coming through on the other side in one piece.

According to scientists, the rocks, glaciers, and other debris fell from an altitude of approximately 3000 feet (914 meters), and the consequences were brutal which saw coastlines obliterated.

“Suddenly the glacier dropped back out of sight, and there was a big wall of water going over the point. The wave started for us right after that, and I was too busy to tell what else was happening up there,” explained Bill and Vivian Swanson, who were on their boat anchored in Anchorage Cove near the western side of the entrance of Lituya Bay.

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