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What Are the Biggest Waves in Recorded History?

What Are the Biggest Waves in Recorded History Science Smithsonian


25 feetTeahupo’o, Tahiti’s waves are modest in height but surfers call the thick lips the world’s “heaviest.”

29 feetAs the tide comes in on Hangzhou, China, a wave called the Silver Dragon travels up the Qiantang River, opposite the direction of the river’s flow. This tidal bore is largest in September.

30 feetThe Banzai Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii, gets our vote for the most dangerous surf wave. It tosses boarders directly into a shallow reef. At least ten people are believed to have died there.

50 feetThe Indian Ocean tsunami ten years ago traveled at speeds reaching 500 miles per hour and barged up to a mile inland. It killed some 200,000 people, making it the deadliest wave known.

78 feetGarrett McNamara holds the record for the largest wave ever surfed, set in 2011 in Nazare, Portugal. Last year he claimed to have surfed a 100-footer also at Nazare, but the height hasn’t been confirmed.

84 feetUntil 1995, most scientists dismissed sudden, unexpected swells known as rogue waves as maritime myth. But on New Year’s Day of that year, a monitoring platform off Norway’s coast recorded a single 84-foot wave surrounded by 20-footers. The simplest explanation for these monsters is that two or more waves meet and align in such a way that their crests combine into one much larger crest.

100 feetAn earthquake followed by a landslide in 1958 in Alaska’s Lituya Bay generated a wave 100 feet high, the tallest tsunami ever documented. When the wave ran ashore, it snapped trees 1,700 feet upslope. Five deaths were recorded, but property damage was minimal because there were few cities or towns nearby.

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it's crazy they were even able to document the alaskan 100-footer!  i'm glad they did!


thanks, geege!  now i'm all goosebumps from head to feet!

Are all the biggest waves caused by weather? It seems that way.

100 foot wave is crazy!

The biggest waves are caused by things falling into the water (displacement).

like antarctica?

Here's what you're looking for.

a geological time bomb?  great.  geege, you and i need emergency scuba gear.

That won't do you any good unless you hoard oodles of oxygen tanks. 

and manage to hang on to them all while billions of gallons of water throw us around!!

okay, change of plan, we need an emergency helicopter.

I think we need an emergency planet. Or at least a place on the moon we can evacuate to.

wall-e spaceships?

Yes! Wall-E spaceships!

wall-E spaceship

god, pixar is good.  just look at how beautiful that one frame is!

Yeah, it's that attention to detail that makes us willing to watch the same movie many times. 

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