November 18, 1929 - The 1929 Newfoundland earthquake and tsunami

Randi Mann
·1 min read
November 18, 1929 - The 1929 Newfoundland earthquake and tsunami
November 18, 1929 - The 1929 Newfoundland earthquake and tsunami

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On November 18th, 1929, a 7.2 earthquake shook Newfoundland, but the story starts between 201 million to 174 million years ago when Pangea, the supercontinent, started to break apart.

Fast-forwarding a few hundred million years later, but not quite to the point where Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the country of Newfoundland experienced a major earthquake and a deathly tsunami.

The earthquake was felt on November 18th at 5:02 pm. The quake’s epicentre was located about 400 kilometres south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

The earthquake was sizable, but it's the subsequent tsunami that makes this day notable in Newfoundland's history.

The tsunami waves reached 3 - 8 metres high as they crashed ashore on the Burin Peninsula.

One of many houses the tsunami destroyed on the Burin Peninsula.
One of many houses the tsunami destroyed on the Burin Peninsula.

Destroyed House, ca. November 1929 — One of many houses the tsunami destroyed on the Burin Peninsula. Photographer unknown. Reproduced by permission of Archives and Special Collections (MF 391.1.01), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

It crashed the communities of the Peninsula causing 27 deaths and leaving more than 1,000 people homeless.

These tsunami waves were travelling at 700km/h. Because tsunami waves travel so quickly, it's difficult to see them coming and prepare accordingly.

To learn more about the science behind this earthquake and tsunami, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History".

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.

Thumbnail credit: Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.