Ex­plore the Legacy of a Tsunami

101 Things to Do (Big Island) - - HILO/HAMAKUA COAST -

Mother Na­ture has dealt the Is­lands a few fierce blows in recorded his­tory. Big Is­land res­i­dents are es­pe­cially wary of tsunamis due to two dev­as­tat­ing in­ci­dents that still re­side in me­mory.

On April 1, 1946, tsunami waves, gen­er­ated by an earth­quake in the Aleu­tian Is­lands, raced 2,300 miles across the ocean in 5 hours and sent a 25-foot wall of water ashore in Hilo. The tsunami struck with lit­tle warn­ing, claim­ing 159 lives and de­stroy­ing more than 1,300 homes.

Four­teen years later, on May 22, 1960, an earth­quake on the coast of Chile sent tsunami waves tear­ing across the Pa­cific at 442 miles per hour, reach­ing Hilo in 15 hours and cul­mi­nat­ing in 35-foot waves that left 61 peo­ple dead.

The Pa­cific Tsunami Mu­seum, at the cor­ner of Kame­hameha and Kalakaua av­enues in down­town Hilo, of­fers a wealth of in­for­ma­tion about tsunamis, as well as ed­u­ca­tional ex­hibits and walking/driv­ing tours of tsunami sites. Mu­seum hours are Mon­day through Satur­day from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

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