Tablet: Preliminary List of Caribbean Tsunamis
Caribbean Tsunamis: An Initial History
James F. Lander and Lowell S. Whiteside CIRES
Campus Box 449, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309 USA 
PgDn
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run up Amn (m) Comments
1530 09 01 Venezuela Paria7.3 Cumana Cubagua 7.3 Sea rose 7.3 m and sank again near coast of Paria and at Cumana and near Island of Cubagua. Ground opened emitting black salt water and asphalt. Mountain at the side of the Gulf of Cariaco was cleft (earthquake). A fort and many houses destroyed, but not clear whether due to the wave, the earthquake or both.
1543 Venezuela Venezuela Waves noted. City of Cumana destroyed by earthquake?
1688 03 01 Jamaica Port Royal, Jamaica Shocks felt throughout the island and waves damaged ships in Port Royal. A ship at sea was damaged by a hurricane. No hurricane was reported.
1690 04 16 
[Gregorian]
Leeward Is. Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Is. Charleston, Nevis The sea withdrew from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, 16.5 to 18.5 m. Robson gives the date as April 5 for Nevis, but this is the Julian date. Earthquake of intensity IX caused landslides on volcanic Nevis Peak which caused the sea to withdraw 201 m from Charleston before returning in 2 mins.
1692 06 07 
[11:40 Local Time (LT)]
Jamaica Port Royal, Jamaica Earthquake and subsidence destroyed 90% of the buildings in the city. Ships overturned, a frigate washed over tops of buildings. A wave 6 ft high traversed the bay. Along the coast of Liganee (possibly Liguanea Plain) the sea withdrew 183 or 274 m, exposing the bottom; upon returning the water overflowed the greater part of the shore. At Yallhouse (possibly Yallahs) the sea is said to have retired about 1.6 km. At Saint Anns Bay a large wave was reported. 2000 people killed by the earthquake and tsunami.
1751 10 18 19:00 Haiti, Santo Domingo Azua de Campostela, Haiti Santo Domingo & El Seybo The city of Azua de Compostela was destroyed by an earthquake and overwhelmed by the resulting tsunami. Santo Domingo also reported damaging waves at Santo Domingo and el Sevbo
1755 11 01 [10:24 Universal Time (UT)] 
 

Lat 36.0N Long l1.OW

Lisbon, Portugal Saba 

St. Martin 

Antigua & Dominica 

Barbados 

Martinique 

Santiago de Cuba

7.0 

4.5 

3.6 

1.5-1.8

Teletsunami from the Lisbon, Portugal, earthquake. Waves of amplitude 7 m were observed at Saba, 3.6 m at Antigua and Dominica, 4.5 m at St. Martin, leaving a sloop anchored in 4.6 m of water was left laying broadside on the dry bottom, 1.5-1.8 m at Barbados, where the wave had a period of 5 minutes and the water was black as ink. This could be a local landslide tsunami or seiche triggered by the Lisbon wave. At Martinique, at some places the water was reported to have withdrawn for 1.6 km and at other places it flowed into the upper level rooms of the houses. The lowlands on most of the other French Islands were inundated. There is a report of Santiago de Cuba being nearly inundated in 1755 but the month and day were not Riven. This is probably from the Lisbon tsunami.
1761 03 31 [13:14 UT] Lisbon, Portugal Barbados An earthquake near Lisbon, Portugal, caused an extraordinary flux and reflux of the sea at Barbados
1766 06 11 [4:05 UT] Cuba Jamaica An earthquake lasting 1-1/2 to 7 minutes hit Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo. Ships at sea 7.2 km from the coast of Jamaica rolled so much that their gunwales were immersed in the water. Ships in deep water would not experience a tsunami. Either the ships were near the coast or in shoaling water or the wave was a storm wave but no storm was reported


 
PgDn PgUp
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run Up Amn (m) Comments
1766 10 21 [9:00 UT] Venezuela Cumana, Venezuela Very violent shocks raised Cumana and caused the island of Orinoco to sink and disappear. In many places the water surface was disturbed. This is a possible tsunami report.
1767 04 24 [6:00 UT] Martinique &Barbados Martinique 

Barbados

The sea was much agitated and ebbed and flowed in an unusual way.
1770 06 03 [19:15] Haiti Golfe de la Gonave, Haiti Waves noted at Golfe de la Gonave and Arcahaie. La Saline 

Mountain foot partly submerged. The sea inundated 7.2 km inland.

1775 03 Haiti Hispaniola Three strong shocks were felt on Hispaniola. Several store houses were destroyed and great damage was done by the sea.
1775 12 18 Hi spamola & Cuba Hispaniola & Cuba Three earthquakes reported and waves did extensive damage. Rubio does not mention any effects in Cuba
1780 10 03 [22:00 LT] Jamaica Savanna La Mar, Jamaica 3.0 An earthquake occurred during a hurricane at 22:00 LT The sea rose to a height of 3 m at 0.8 from the beach and swept away a number of houses. Ten people were killed by the wave and about 300 more by the storm. All vessels in the bay were dashed to pieces or driven onshore. Waves may have been storm surge
1781 09 01 [14:20 LT] Jamaica Jamaica In 1781 a series of waves and disastrous earthquakes nearly ruined the Island. There are no reports of earthquakes for this day, but there are reports of a major hurricane on Aug I at 14:20 LT.
1787 10 27 Jamaica Montego Bay, Jamaica A small local shock was felt at Montego Bay and the vessels in the harbor were agitated. Mallet reports earthquakes in Jamaica on Oct 1 and 21 at Kingston and Port Royal. This would be a lowvalidity report as no wave was cited and the agitation may have been a report of a seaquake effect.
1802 03 19 Leeward. Is. Antigua 

St. Christopher

Earthquakes were reported in February and March with the largest on this date. It was accompanied by great agitation of the sea. Intensity IV.
1802 08 05 Venezuela Orinoco River, Venezuela Earthquakes at Cumana caused the water of the Orinoco River to rise so high as to leave part of the bed dry. This could describe wave action near the mouth of the river, or bore action. The rudder of a vessel was broken
1812 11 11 [10:50 UT] Jamaica Jamaica The sea was much agitated following an earthquake. This could describe wave action or seaquake action.
1823 11 30 [2:45 LT] Martinique Saint-Pierre Harbor, Martinique At 2:45 LT a strong undulation (earthquake) was followed by a tidal wave at 3:10 p.m. which caused some damage in Saint-Pierre Harbor.
1824 09 13 Guadeloupe Plymouth, Montserrat Earthquakes were felt at Basse Terre on the 9th and on the 13th there was a remarkable rise and fall of the tide at Plvmouth Montserrat. There had been a terrible storm and heavy rain on September 7-9. 


 
PgDn PgUp
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run Up Amn (m) Comments
1824 11 30 Martinique St. Pierre Severe shock at St. Pierre. A very high tide threw many ships upon the strand. Heavy rain followed lasting 10 days.
1825 09 20 British Guiana Demerara County, British 

Guiana

Local earthquake and oscillations of the sea were noted. An earthquake (MMI=VIII) was also noted at Trinidad Tobago St. Vincent and Barbados.
1831 12 03 Trinidad and 

St. Christopher

Trinidad 

St. Christopher

An earthquake occurred. The sea was in a state of violent agitation. Note the large distance between reporting areas. An earthquake was also reported at Grenada, St. Vincent, and British Guiana.
1837 08 02 Martinique Martinique Several shocks accompanied by a large wave occurring during a hurricane. Source of wave uncertain.
1842 05 07 [17:30 LT]  Guadeloupe Guadeloupe: Basse Terre, 

Deshaies, & Sainte Rose 

Bequia Is. 

St. Johns, Virgin Is. 

Charlotte Town, Grenada 

Haiti: Cap Hatien, Port-de- 

Paix, Fort Liberte, Mole St. 

Nicolas, & Santiago de los 

Caballeros, 

Hispaniola

0.9 

8.3 

1.8 

3.1 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2.0

A strong earthquake (Mw=8.3)at 17:30 LT produced waves with heights reported; a wave carried away all floatable objects at Deshaies and Sainte Rose; at Gouyave, Grenada (Charlotte Town), there was some damage; at Haiti, a destructive tsunami struck the north coast; at Mole Saint-Nicholas, Cap Haitien, there was extensive destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami; at Port-de-Paix the sea receded 60m and the returning wave covered the city with 5m of water. About 200-300 of the city's 3,000 inhabitants were killed by the earthquake and tsunami. It was observed at Fort Liberte, Mole St. Nicolas, and Santiago de los Caballeros. At Hispaniola there was destruction on north coast by waves of 2 m. Note the large area of this event which suggests a teletsunami, but the earthquake was felt at Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other islands. Note also the missing locations such as Puerto Rico for which no tsunami report is available.
1843 02 08 Antigua Antigua 1.2 An earthquake was felt at Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, St. Kilts, Montserrat, Martinique, and other islands. The sea rose 1.2 m but sank again immediately. A volcanic eruption near Marie Galante followed on Feb 17, which ejected jets and columns of water and probably resulted in a minor tsunami.
1852 07 17 Cuba Santiago de Cuba At Santiago de Cuba the bay was affected by a strong surge which affected the port buildings and loading docks. It probably was the product of an earthquake which affected the US frigate Tropic which was about 112 km from Jamaica
1853 07 15 Venezuela Cumana, Venezuela  A violent earthquake (MMI=X) in Cumana followed by a tsunami
1856 08 04 Honduras Honduras 5.0 An earthquake and 5 m wave. Earlier wave reported some years earlier. Not known if on the 

Caribbean or Pacific coast.

1860 03 08 Hispaniola Hispaniola: Golfe de la 

Gonaves, Cayes, Acquin, & 

Anse-a-Veau.

An earthquake (Ms=7.5) was reported from Port-au-Prince and Anse-a-Veau. Waves were reported from Golfe de la Gonaves, Cayes, and Acquin. At Anse-a-Veau the sea withdrew and broke with acrash on the shore.


 
PgDn PgUp
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run up Amn (m) Comments
1867 11 18 St. Thomas, 

Virgin Is.

St. Thomas, Charlotte 

Amalie & 

Altona 

St. Croix, Friedricksted, 

Christensted & Gallows Bay 

Puerto Rico, San Juan, 

Fajardo, Yabucoa & 

Vieques 

British Virgin Is.: 

Tortola, Road Town, 

Peter Is., Saba, St. 

Christopher, St. Martin & 

St. Barthelemy 

St. Johns, Antigua 

Guadeloupe: Basse-Terrre, 

Deshailes, Isles des Saintes, 

Fond du Cure, Pointe-a-Pitre 

& Sainte-Rose 

Martinique 

St. Vincent 

Grenada, Charlotte Town 

Becouia Is

6.0 
 

7.6 
 

1.5 
 
 
 

1.5 
 
 
 

3.0 

1.0 
 

10.0 
 

3.0 

1 8

An earthquake (Ms=7.5) occurred in the Virgin Is. Waves around about 15 mins after the earthquake. At Charlotte Amalie, the height was 2.4 m above the sea level at the wharf, and the lower part of city was flooded. The water receded nearly 100 m and returned as a wave 4.5 to 6 m high swamping small boats in the harbor. The wave penetrated 76 m inland. The USS De Soto was damaged, 11-12 people were killed. At Altona, houses were washed far inland, and there was some damage at Hassel I. At Christensted, St. Croix, waves swept inland 91 m, and at Gallows Bay, 20 houses were damaged. At Fredericksted the sea withdrew and returned as a wall of water 7.6 m high leaving the USS Monongahela stranded. Five were killed, 3-4 injured, and 20 houses were damaged. At Puerto Rico, at San Juan, the river water rose 0.9-1.5 m and at Vieques, high waves were observed. At Fajardo, a very small wave was reported, and at Yabucoa the sea retreated and inundated l 37m on its return. In the British Virgin Islands, at Peter I., a wave was noted and people Bed to Tortola. At Roadtown, Tortola, a 1.5 m waves swept some houses away. At Saba, there was some damage. At St. Christopher, the wave was also observed. At St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, there was some damage. At St. Johns, Antigua, the wave had a height of 3.0 m. At Basse Terrre, Guadeloupe, the height was 1.0 m with the sea retreated far from coast. At Deshailes, houses in village were destroyed. At Islesdes Saintes, there was a slight swell, and at Fond du Cure, houses inundated to a depth of l m. At Pointe-a-Pitre, there was a slight swell, and at Sainte-Rose, a 10 m wave. The sea withdrew 100 m and flooded and damaged houses on return. It was observed at Martinique and St. Vincent had unusually high water. At Grenada, Gouyave (Charlotte Town), the height was 3 m and at St. George, 1.5 m. At Becquia Is., it was 1.8 m.
1868 03 17 Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, Arroyo & 

Naguabo 

St. Thomas, Charlotte 

Amalie


 
 
 
 

0.6

An earthquake and tsunami were observed at Arroyo and Naguabo. At St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, it was .6 m, with a small recession and flooding.
1874 03 l l 

[4:30 LT]

Lesser Antilles Dominica 

Thomas, Virgin Is.

A submarine shock to the southeast of St. Thomas shook the island and ships in the harbor. 

Simultaneously the water in the bay, then perfectly still, appeared turbid as though clouded by sand and mud. A little later strong ripples from the south agitated the water surface lasting some time. This probably was the tsunami and the earlier effects from the seismic waves agitating the bottom. At Dominica, the steamer Corsica reported at 5:00 LT a series of heavy rollers in the harbor lasting half an hour and rendering communication with the shore impossible. They did not feel the earthquake. The reduced effects at Charlotte Amalie may indicate a source on the eastern side of the island. 


 
PgDn PgUp
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run up Amn (m) Comments
1918 10 11 Puerto Rico Puerto Rico: 

Aguadilla 

Isabela 

Cayo Cardona 

El Bouqueron 

Punta Borinquen 

Isla Caja de Muertos 

Gaunica 

Isla Mona 

Mayaguez 

Puerto Arecido 

Punta Agujereada 

Punta Higuero 

Rio Culebrinas 

St. Thomas: 

Charlotte Amalie & 

Krum Bay 

Santo Domingo, Hispaniola 

Tortola

2.4 -3.3 

1.8 

0.75 

2.4 

4.3 

1.5 

0.6 

3.6 

1.5 

0.6 

6.0 

4.9 

3.7 
 

0.45 

1.2 

0.6

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake caused a wave of 2.4 -3.3 m above sea level at Aguadilla, which destroyed 300 huts and drowned 34 people. At Cayo Cardona, water rose 75 cm on the west side of the island. At El Boqueron, the wave dropped 1.5 m and rose 90 cm above mean sea level. About 800 m southeast near the entrance to the bay the water rose only 45 cm. At Punta Borinquen Lighthouse, the wave was 4.5 m above sea level. In a low area just southwest of the lighthouse thewave penetrated 91 m inland. Submarine cables were cut in several places. At Gaunica, 45 cm wavesobserved. At Isabella, the water rose 1.8 m. At Isla Caja de Muertos, water rose l.5m covering 15 m of the beach. At Isla Mona, the receding water bared the reef and the returning wave was 3.6 m above sea level washing a pier away, and flooding a cistern. At Mayaguez, a wave entered the first floors of buildings near the waterfront and destroyed a few native huts and a brick wall was overturned. Water levels reached 40 to 150 cm above sea level. At Playa Ponce, slight water movements were observed. At Puerto Arecido, waves 30 to 60 cm high were observed and a bore about 10 cm went up the Rio Grande. At Punta Agujereada, waves estimated at 5.5 to 6 m uprooted several hundred palm trees and destroyed several small houses. Eight people drowned. At Punta Higuero Lighthouse, wavesuprooted coconut palms and crossed railroad tracks 4.9 m above sea level while 800 m southeast of the lighthouse the water rose 2.6 to 2.7 m. At Rio Culebrinas, 1000 kg blocks of limestone were moved 46 to 76 m slightly downhill. Waves were at least 3.7 m high. At Rio Grande de Lioza, water receded and rose about 90 cm. At St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, the water rose 45 cm and at Krum Bay, 1.2 m. At Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, water of the Rio Ozama fell and rose 60 cm with a period of 40 mins. Waves were noted at Tortola.
1918 10 25 

[3:42 UT]

Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, Mona Passage Submarine cables were cut again and a steamer rolled heavily. Waves were recorded on the tideRauRe at Galveston Texas.
1922 05 02 Puerto Rico A wave was recorded on the Galveston, Texas, gauge which has been associated with a small earthquake in Vieques Is., but the small earthquake does not seem likely to have produced arecordable tsunami. 
1929 01 17 Venezuela Cumana, Venezuela City was destroyed by an earthquake (Ms=6.9) and a steamer off shore was endangered by a huge wave. The tidal wave following the earthquake caused much damage. Many sailboats were wrecked.
1931 12 01 Cuba Cuba: Playa Panchita, Rancho 

Veloz, Las Villas

At Playa Panchita, Rancho Veloz, and Las Villas, waves beat on the beaches. Coastal houses were inundateddamaging household furniture. A hurricane passed north of Cuba on Nov 25, and became a tropical storm in Cuba bY Nov 30. No earthquake resorted.
1932 02 03 

[9: 16 UT]

Cuba Santiago de Cuba Small waves were reported at the time of an earthquake at Santiago de Cuba by a north American boat. A strong earthquake affected 80% of the buildings in this city, but the wave was of little importance
1939 08 08 

[3:52 UT]

Cuba Frances Cay, Cuba Frances Cay reported movement of the sea that woke up the sailors of a boat and yacht. It was a II on the Rudolph scale. The earthquake (Mb=5.6) that caused this tsunami affected the north of the province of Las Villas and the epicenter was located in the sea. ISS places the epicenter within the island of Cuba.


 
PgUp
Origin Data
Tsunami Data
Date Area Location of Effects Run up Amn (m) Comments
1946 08 04 Dominican 

Republic

Dominican Republic: 

Matanzas, 

Julia Molina & Samana 

San Juan, Puerto Rico 

Bermuda 

Daytona Beach, Florida 

Atlantic City New Jersey

2.4

The town was severely damaged and 100 people killed although the wave probably was only 2.4m. At Villa Julia Molina the wave was estimated to be 3.6 to 4.6m high but caused little damage. At Cabo Samana several ebbs and flows were observed. It was recorded at San Juan, Puerto Rico, 36 minutes after the earthquake. It was also recorded at Bermuda at 2:07 after the earthquake and at Daytona Beach, 3:59 and Atlantic City, 4:49.
1953 05 31 [19:58 UT] Dominican 

Republic

Puerto P lata, Dominican 

Republic

0.6 Recorded on the Puerto Plata tide gauge at 6 cm height. May be a wave from hurricane Alice which was in the area at this time.
1955 01 18 Venezuela La Vela, Venezuela A wave was reported; four ships were wrecked and four waterfront buildings damaged. An 

earthquake (Mb=5.5) off the coast of Panama is listed for this time.

1968 09 20 

[6 09 UT]

Venezuela A report of a tsunami has not been verified. Hurricane Edna was passing north of Venezuela 

at this time and an earthquake (Ms=6.2) occurred near the coast of Venezuela.

1969 12 25 [21:32 UT] Leeward Is. Barbados, 

Antigua & Dominica

0.46 Recorded at Barbados, Antigua, and Dominica with a maximum amplitude of 46 cm at Barbados.
1985 03 16 [14:54UT] Leeward Is. Basse Terre, Guadeloupe Amoderate earthquake (Ms=6.3) caused damage at Montserrat. It was also felt at Antigua, St. Kitts, and Puerto Rico. A several cm tsunami was recorded at Basse Terre, Guadeloupe.
1989 11 01 [10:25 UT] Puerto Rico Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico A small tsunami was reported from an earthquake (Mb=5.2).
1991 04 22 [21:56 UT] Costa Rica Panama: Bocas del Toro, 

Carenero Island, 

San Cristobal Island, 

Puertobelo, 

Colon


 
 

0.10 

0.60

At Bocas del Toro, Panama, people reported that Las Delicias sand bank normally covered by 60 to 90cm of water emerged as the sea receded less than ten minutes after the 

earthquake and remained above water for five to seven minutes. Afterwards several waves entered the bay with great force flooding 50 to 100m in the flat northern part of the town. At Carenero Island violent waves destroyed dwellings. At San Cristobal Island the sea receded several meters for about 45 minutes. People went on the beach to catch trapped fish. It was also observed at Bastimento, Cristobal, 10cm, Puertobelo, W. Panama, 60cm and recorded at Colon.

RETURN TO MAIN DOCUMENT TOP OF PAGE

HTML Version by: Harry Justiniano