Tsunami in Burin Pen on November 18, 1929
The “Great Banks Earthquake of 1929” centred just off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Ocean. The earthquake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale at 5:15 pm. Just after 7 pm, people in the village of St. Lawrence saw the water in their harbour raise two-thirty metres (99 feet). The tsunami caused 28 deaths, hundreds of people homeless, and nearly $400,000 in damage costs (nowadays that is roughly $5.5 million). The tsunami was to have been felt by those as far as New York.
When the waves first hit the coast, they hit hard. They first hit at 40 kilometres an hour and caused sea levels to rise from up to three metres to a shocking seven meters. In the narrow bays of the peninsula, the level rose by an even more shocking height of 13 metres and in some places, 27 metres! This made it possible for there to be houses lifted off their foundations and to be carried away by the waves of the sea. Not only causing devastation but taking literally taking the homes of communities.
The Globe and Mail reported:
“The earthquake threshed the bed of the Atlantic with sufficient force to sever ten of the twenty-one cables connecting the Easter and Western Hemispheres.”
Hence, people could not send out an S.O.S.
Although the tsunami’s three waves hit the Burin Peninsula within the space of 30 minutes and sea levels had returned to normal after about two hours, it had destroyed more than homes. Thousands of victims confused by what had happened and upset. Many people missing and presumed dead. The mental impact this had on the victims is unimaginable.
On a final note, here is another first-hand experience of the events: