The 1929 Tsunami - A Look Inside


  • Megan Jarvis Memorial University of Newfoundland


Coastal & Ocean Engineering 8751


Lawn is a small fishing community located on the tip of the Burin Peninsula along the south coast of Newfoundland. In 1929, a Tsunami brought considerable damage to property and loss of life to the Burin Peninsula. As a resident of Lawn for 18 years, I grew up hearing stories about my grandparents experience during the Tsunami of 1929. As a result I have always been very interested in this topic. The Tsunami was caused by an underground earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. The quake forced waves across the ocean at speeds more than eight hundred kilometers an hour. It created the great tsunami on the Burin Peninsula that struck the shores with waves at a speed of over 104 kilometers an hour. Tsunamis can arrive in less than a minute after natural warning signs such as an earthquake, the receding of shore water or a loud roaring sound. The people on the Burin Peninsula had only natural warning signs to alert them. They were not prepared for what these signs were or what they meant and therefore had little time to react before the Tsunami hit the shorelines. As a part of this case study, I plan to research the earthquake that occurred in the Grand Banks about 265 kilometers south of the Burin Peninsula. I will also review the tsunami and the waves that spread across the water surface, how the quake intensified and the breakage of the transatlantic cables caused by the underwater slump and the engineering lessons learned from the disaster.


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Kenji Satake, “Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences, Chapter 42: Tsunamis Generated by Submarine Landslides”, Earthquake Research Institute, pp 475-484, 2012

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Hugh B. Milburn, “Real-Time Deep-Ocean Tsunami Measuring, Monitoring, and Reporting System: The NOAA DART II Description and Disclosure” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2005,

Rollo Reid, “How to Make Buildings Safer in Tsunamis” Reid Steel,






Coastal and Ocean Engineering (ENGI.8751)