Tsunami Wave Heights: 1960

The tsunami of May 23, 1960 was generated by a magnitude 9.5 earthquake in Chile, the largest earthquake ever instrumentally recorded. The 35 foot tsunami struck Hilo, Hawaiʻi (Big Island) causing severe damage. 61 deaths were recorded and $23 million in damage occurred. In the area of maximum destruction, only buildings of reinforced concrete or structural steel, and a few others sheltered by these buildings, remained standing - and even these were generally gutted. Frame buildings were either crushed or floated nearly to the limits of the flooding.