Lituya Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

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Lituya Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

by | Apr 18, 2020

Lituya Bay is a fjord located in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska, about 100 miles (161 km) northwest of Sitka and 69 miles (111 km) west-northwest of Gustavus, Alaska. The name of the bay means “lake within the point” in the local Tlingit language. It is 9 miles (14.5 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide at its widest point. The bay was first reported in 1786 by Jean-François de La Pérouse, who named it Port des Français. Lituya Bay is famous for four recorded tsunamis in 1854, 1899, 1936, and 1958.

The 1958 mega-tsunami was caused by an earthquake that generated a landslide at the head of the bay in Gilbert Inlet. The landslide created the highest recorded wave in history. The breaking wave had sufficient power to snap off all the trees up to an elevation of 1,720 feet (520 m) on the slope directly opposite the landslide.

As the wave traveled out of the bay it overtopped much of Cenotaph Island where three fishing boats were anchored. One boat sank and the two people on board were killed. The other two boats were able to ride the wave to the open sea where it quickly dissipated. Read more here and here. Explore more of Lituya Bay here:

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