Last year, our school participated in a fund-raising event to help the survivors of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. This terrible event killed more than 270,000 people making it the most destructive tsunami in all of history. I was very happy to help out in this event and told my grand-parents what our school had done to help out. Having thought that things like this happen in other places in the world, I was so surprised to hear that Newfoundland had a Tsunami of its own and that my grand father, who was five at the time, was caught in the middle of it!On November 18, 1929, a major earthquake took place in the Atlantic Ocean. It happened 400 kilometres from St. John's and was 7.2 on the Richter scale. While the earthquake took place in the ocean floor, people living in southern Newfoundland felt the vibration of the earthquake.
Two and one-half hours later, a great wave hit the southern shore of the Burin Peninsula. This is a story about the great Tsunami of 1929.
A Tsunami is a Japanese word that means tsu - harbour; nami - wave. It is a huge wave that forms in the ocean as the result of an earthquake. As the earth shakes, a great wave begins and travels through the water until it hits land. It is like throwing a rock into a pond and seeing a small wave begin because the water has been moved by the rock. A Tsunami is the exact same thing, but much, much bigger. As the water begins to come to the shoreline, the depth of the water becomes shallower and the wave becomes bigger and stronger. As the wave hits the shoreline, it can be as much as 50 feet high and cause much damage to anything on the shoreline.
The great Tsunami of Newfoundland hit 48 kilometres of shoreline along the south coast of the Burin Peninsula from Lamaline to Rock Harbor. Three waves hit the shore and the greatest reached a height of 27 metres. As a result, 29 people died, property was destroyed and all communication was broken off.
The whole event took fifteen minutes to happen. Three big waves hit the shoreline and as the water began to go back out into the ocean, houses were caught in the waves and were swept out to sea. Anything that was on the coast line was either destroyed or swept out to sea. Fishing boats, wharfs and fishing nets were destroyed. People lost all of their winter supplies like firewood, coal and food. The waves not only destroyed property and killed people, its power changed the shape of the shoreline so that some boats could not get into the harbor.
There were many stories of bravery that came from the tragedy. One of the saddest was a story about a Newfoundland dog that swam out to sea to save his master and his masters baby daughter. The dog was seen a ÃÂ½ hour later swimming back to shore with the baby on his back. Having saved the baby, the dog went back out to save his master when as he almost made it out to his masters house, another housed collapsed near him and he died. As with the master and his daughter, many people were inside the houses at the time and some died as they drowned in the water. There was one baby that lived after her house was caught in the wave as it went back out to sea. While her parents died because they were on the first floor, the baby, who was sleeping upstairs survived and was found alive the next day by rescuers.
BibliographyWebsites:Nelson, J., "The 1929 Tsunami in the Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland." Fishing? - It was "A WAY OF LIFE" and Lost At Sea . http://www.lostatsea.ca/tidal.htm (2005)Fleet, Deanne, "The South Coast disaster: Newfoundland's tsunami". C.B.C. News Website. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/asia_earthquake/nfld.html (2004)Unknown, "The Magnitude 7.2 1929 Grand Banks earthquake and tsunami" National Resources of Canada Website. http://www.seismo.nrcan.gc.ca/damage/1929/1929_e.php (2005)Unknown, "Welcome to Tsunami", University of Washington, http://www.ess.washington.edu/tsunami/index.html (2005)Unknown, "The Great Tsunami of '29 (East Coast)", . http://www.mysteriesofcanada.com/Newfoundland/tsunami_of_29.htm (2004)Unknown, "The Grand Banks earthquake and tsunami", C.B.C. Archives, http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-75-1561-10514/science_technology/earthquakes_and_tsunamis/clip3 (2005)