One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded by instruments (and the largest ever in the United States) struck south-central Alaska on March 27, 1964 (local time). This 9.2 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami that killed people in Alaska and California and damaged property in those states as well as in British Columbia, Oregon, and Hawaii. Our animation shows how that tsunami may have propagated in the Pacific Ocean 50 years ago and covers a 20-hour period finishing with an "energy map" showing the forecasted maximum heights of open-ocean tsunami waves followed by the forecasted tsunami runup on the coasts.
As part of its response to this event the United States government created a second tsunami warning center in 1967, the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center--now called the National Tsunami Warning Center--to help mitigate future tsunami threats to Alaska, Canada, and the U.S. Mainland. Please see http://ntwc.arh.noaa.gov/ for more information about our sister Center.