TABLE 5 The Evidence for Extreme Waves

Description and Location (year)

Wave Height in Feet

Significant

Extreme

Notesa

Lituya Bay, Alaska (1958)

320

1,700

Landslide

Sydney-Hobart Race (1998)

40-60

140

Measured

Krakatoa, Indonesia

133

Volcano

Weather ship data (ca. 1980)

 

 

 

Atlantic

43-75

131

Calculated

Pacific

36-66

118

Calculated

Offshore platforms

 

 

 

North Sea

111

Calculated

USS Ramapo, N. Pacific (1933)

112

Measured

East Dellwood, N. Pacific (1993)

40

101

Measured

Ocean Ranger, N. Atlantic (1982)

100

Estimated

SS Bremen, S. Atlantic (2001)

98

Estimated

Submarine Grouper, Atlantic

Calm seas

98

Measured

Caledonian Star, S. Atlantic (2001)

98

Estimated

Athene, Indian Ocean (1977)

98

Estimated

Queen Elizabeth 2, N. Atlantic

95

Estimated

Hurricane Ivan, Atlantic (2004)

91

Measured

Queen Elizabeth, N. Atlantic (1943)

90

Estimated

Unnamed vessel, Atlantic (1960s)

85

Estimated

Draupner platform, N. Sea (1995)

39

84

Measured

Esso Nederland, Agulhas current

82

Estimated

MaxWave satellite study (2001)

80+

Measured

May 22 Chile earthquake (1960)

82

Runup

Ob, Southern Ocean (1955-1956)

82

Estimated

Michelangelo, N. Atlantic (1966)

20-30

81

Estimated

USS Milwaukee, N. Atlantic (1975)

75

Estimated

Tanker Atigun Pass, Pacific (1982)

70

Estimated

USS Wateree, Chile (1868)

69

Tsunami

Schiehallion, N. Atlantic (1998)

46

66+

Measured

Munchen, N. Atlantic (1978)

66+

Estimated

MV Explorer, N. Pacific (2004)

61

Estimated

Independence, N. Atlantic (1977)

25-30

55-60

Estimated

Teal Arrow, N. Atlantic (1995)

50

Hurricane

Texas Tower 4, N. Atlantic (1960)

50

Hurricane

Polar Star, N. Pacific (1985)

11.5

35

Storm

March 27 Alaska earthquake (1964)

33

Tsunami

aIn compiling this table, in many cases where height is “estimated,” the estimate is based on the height above the waterline where significant damage was observed. The likelihood is that this underestimates the wave height. N means north; S means south.



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