A massive wave breaks.  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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In July 1958, an 8.3-magnitude earthquake at the Fairweather Fault rocked Alaska’s southern coast. The ground-shaking event caused a massive landslide at nearby Lituya Bay, which triggered a devastating tsunami that ripped through the narrow body of water and killed five people.

The colossal wave leveled trees on the steep slopes surrounding the bay up to a maximum height of 1,719 feet (524 meters) above sea level — higher than New York’s Empire State Building (which stands at 1,454 feet, or 443 m). This is known as the runup height, or the height the wave reaches after it makes landfall.


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