On this day July 9, 1958

Lituya Bay is hit by a mega-tsunami. At 10:15 p.m. an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck the Lituya Bay area, which is still daylight for Lituya Bay during that time of year.

The tide was ebbing at about plus 1.5m and the weather was clear. Anchored in Anchorage Cove, near the west side of the entrance of the bay, Bill and Vivian Swanson were on their boat fishing when the unthinkable happened, the wave is recorded at 524 meters high, making it the largest wave in history, 470 feet taller than the Empire State Building.

Eyewitness account refer that: With the first jolt, I tumbled out of the bunk and looked toward the head of the bay where all the noise was coming from. The mountains were shaking something awful, with slide of rock and snow, but what I noticed mostly was the glacier, the north glacier, the one they call Lituya Glacier.

I know you can’t ordinarily see that glacier from where I was anchored. People shake their heads when I tell them I saw it that night. I can’t help it if they don’t believe me. I know the glacier is hidden by the point when you’re in Anchorage Cove, but I know what I saw that night, too. The glacier had risen in the air and moved forward so it was in sight. It must have risen several hundred feet. I don’t mean it was just hanging in the air.

It seems to be solid, but it was jumping and shaking like crazy. Big chunks of ice were falling off the face of it and down into the water. That was six miles away and they still looked like big chunks. They came off the glacier like a big load of rocks spilling out of a dump truck. That went on for a little while—its hard to tell just how long—and then 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.

Tags: ,

%d bloggers like this: