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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Tsunami Letters
By Tom LeCompte


November 07, 2012
Wednesday PM

I think any discussion of Lituya Bay should clarify what really happened there.

As eloquently written by Hizzoner Dave a few years back, the Lituya Bay waves were more of a splash, albeit 1700 feet high, caused by pretty much the whole face of a mountain and glacier, way up in the back of the bay falling off into the water. The gigantic splash sloshed around the bay like a youngster sending splashes around the bathtub. When it reached the mouth of the bay it washed over th spit and carried a couple boats across and into the open ocean.

A true tsunami actually comes in to a bay FROM the ocean and then may retreat , sometimes several times, carrying junk and debris both ways. The name tsunami means "harbor wave" in Japanese.

When they had the ranger boats celebration several years back and Paul McIntosh did a slide show at the Discovery Center, one of the attendees was Howie Ulrich who rode out the wave on his boat back in 1958 in Lituya Bay. It was a great thrill to talk to him. His boat lasted until the mid 90's I think, before being lost in another incident.

I enjoyed Dave's article and am glad we have an effective warning system for what may or may not come in the event of an earthquake and tsunami.

Tom LeCompte
Ketchikan, AK


About: "Lifelong surfer with an interest in waves!"

Received November 06, 2012 - Published November 07, 2012

Related Viewpoints:

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letter RE: "We all survived the GREAT TSUNAMI ALERT OF 2012!" By Brad Maushart

letter RE: We all Survived the Tsunami 2012 By Annie Fawcett

letter RE: Surviving the great tsunami By Paul Crowl


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