LITUYA BAY

Lituya Bay, North West of Juneau Alaska, was the location of an earthquake driven wave on July 9 of 1958 at 7:30 at night. It took scientists twenty-years to figure out the forces that created a wave 1,800 feet high that was labeled mega-tsunami.

The author was scheduled to be in Lituya Bay the morning of the July 9 to set up a camp for an exploration team. A series of three events during the day forced the bush pilot to cancel the flight into the bay.

The author took this picture on the next day from the location of the proposed camp. The wave was generated behind the slope in the foreground and exploded over the slope at 1,800 feet, crossed the bay and washed over our camp site and removed the forest up to an elevation of 500 feet. The huge forest covering the slope was stripped away and washed out to the ocean four miles away. The bay is choked with icebergs calved off from two glaciers at the head end of the bay.

A father and son in a small fishing boat inside the bay were washed out , surfing fifty feet above 100 foot trees, into the ocean. The father and son on the boat survived.