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Published on May 25, 2007
One of the most destructive Pacific-wide tsunamis - and the most severe in the Hawaiian islands - was generated by a large earthquake near Unimak in the Aleutian chain of islands of Alaska.
The earthquake occurred on April 1, 1946, at 12:29 GMT. Its epicenter was at 52.8° N, 163.5° W, and its focal depth was shallow at 25 km.
Although the quake was initially assigned a Richter magnitude of 7.2, in later years, the energy it released was reevaluated and a Moment Magnitude (Mw) of 8.6 was assigned. to this event.
This earthquake generated one of the most destructive Pacific-wide tsunamis of the 20th century. Near the generating area, at Unimak Island, huge tsunami waves reached 35.0 m (more than 100 feet) above sea level and destroyed completely the newly built, U.S. Coast Guard's Scotch Cap lighthouse. All 5 men of its crew were killed. The lighthouse was a steel-reinforced concrete structure and its base was at about 30 meters above sea level.