Crescent City 1960

A bunch of 1960s-vintage cars sit in floodwaters near a little market.

Detailed Description

Photograph of Crescent City Wharf during the 1960 tsunami. 

May 22, 1960.—The largest recorded historical earthquake, a magnitude 9.5 occurring off the coast of Chile, triggered a tsunami that traveled across the Pacific Ocean. The teletsunami energy was focused in a northwesterly direction, resulting in 61 deaths in Hawaii and 138 deaths in Japan (Atwater and others, 1999). In California, the tsunami caused damage to harbors along the entire coast (Lander and others, 1993). Figure 3 is a photograph (Orville Magoon archives) taken during the tsunami showing inundation of waterfront areas in Crescent City. Peterson and others (2011) found a silty debris layer in Anchor Way Marsh in Crescent City at a depth consistent with deposition from the 1960 tsunami, indicating that coastal wetlands in Crescent City may have been flooded by this event.


Image Dimensions: 725 x 603

Location Taken: Crescent City, CA, US


Geologic Evidence for Distant-Source Tsunamis from New Field Data in California
Chapter C of The SAFRR (Science Application for Risk Reduction) Tsunami Scenario, USGS Open-File Report 2013-1170