1929 Grand Banks earthquake
|UTC time||1929-11-18 20:32:00|
|Local date||November 18, 1929|
|Magnitude||7.2 Mw |
|Depth||20 km (12 mi) |
Dominion of Newfoundland |
French Republic Saint Pierre and Miquelon
|Total damage||$400,000  ($5.6 million in 2017)|
(VI Strong tremor)|
(VIII Severe)(Natural Resources Canada 1929 earthquake revised)
|Casualties||27 or 28 killed|
The 1929 Grand Banks earthquake (also called the Laurentian Slope earthquake and the South Shore Disaster) occurred on November 18. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.2 and a maximum Rossi–Forel intensity of VI (Strong tremor) and was centered in the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Newfoundland in the Laurentian Slope Seismic Zone.
The earthquake was centred on the edge of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of the island. It was felt as far away as New York City and Montreal. The quake, along two faults 250 kilometres (160 mi) south of the Burin Peninsula, triggered a large submarine landslide displacing (200 km3 or 48 cu mi). It snapped 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and led to a tsunami that arrived in three waves. Newfoundland, Canada and Saint Pierre and Miquelon had the largest impact, both from the snapped 12 submarine cables, and the tsunami. This was Canada's largest submarine landslide ever recorded, up to 500 times the size of 1894 Saint-Alban subaerial slide.
The tsunami waves had an amplitude of 3–8 metres (9.8–26.2 ft), and a runup of 13 metres (43 ft) along the Burin Peninsula. It destroyed many south coastal communities on the Peninsula, killing 27 or 28 people and leaving 1,000 or more homeless. All means of communication were cut off by the destruction, and relief efforts were further hampered by a blizzard that struck the day after. It was recorded as far away as Lagos, Portugal 4,060 km (2,520 mi), 06:47 after the earthquake.It took 02:23 hrs to strike Burin, Newfoundland, 340 km (210 mi) from the epicenter, and only two hours to be observed in Bermuda 1,445 km (898 mi). This was Canada's largest submarine landslide ever recorded, up to 500 times the size of 1894 Saint-Alban landslide.
Tsunami travel times demonstrate the strong anisotropy of the propagating waves. The waves reach open ocean islands such as Bermuda in about 2 h[hours] (mean speed ~700 km/h) and the Azores in about 4 h (~630 km/h). At the same time, tsunami wave speeds are much slower in the direction of the North America[n] coast: they require 2.7 h to reach Halifax (~230 km/h) and 4.2 h to reach Atlantic City (~380 km/h).— W.H Berninghausen, 
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island had felt the earthquake; the intensity was rated at the time at IV (Slight tremor) – VI (Strong tremor) on the Rossi-Forel scale. In PEI it ranged from an intensity of III (Weak) – V (Moderate).
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
In the then named French Republic Overseas territory of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, about 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of the Burin Peninsula, people were awakened around 16:30h by the earthquake that lasted approximately one minute. At 17:20, the tsunami reached the island of Saint-Pierre, submerging the docks. The worst damage was reported on the island then named Île-aux-Chiens (meaning Island of the Dogs; till 1931), now known as L'Île-aux-Marins (The Island of the Sailors). The tsunami hit from the south, rising above the height of the south bank that protects the south coast, flooding the lower part of the island. It damaged and moved some of the houses; there were no reported injuries or casualties from the islands. The quake's intensity on the island was V (Moderate tremor) – VI (Strong tremor), and on the revised Modified Mercalli Intensity scale IV (Light) – V (Moderate)
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It took more than three days before the SS Meigle responded to an SOS signal with doctors, nurses, blankets, and food. Donations from across Newfoundland, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom totaled $250,000. There was never an accurate official list of the victims produced by any branch of the Newfoundland government. In the report entitled "Loss of Life," the Honourable Dr. Harris Munden Mosdell, Chairman of the Board of Health Burin West, reported: "The loss of life through the tidal wave totals twenty-seven. Twenty-five deaths were due directly to the upheaval. Two other deaths occurred subsequently and were due to shock and exposure." Later research attributed an additional death to the earthquake.
In 1952, American scientists from Columbia University put together the pieces of the sequentially broken cables that led to the discovery of the landslide and the first documentation of a turbidity current. Scientists have examined other layers of sand believed to be deposited by other tsunamis in an effort to determine the occurrence rates of large earthquakes. One sand layer, thought to be deposited by the 1929 tsunami, at Taylor's Bay was found 13 centimetres (5.1 in) below the turf line. The occurrences of large tsunamis, such as the one in 1929, are dependent upon deposition of sediments offshore because it was the landslide that made the tsunami so powerful. The deposition of such a large volume of sediments will take a while before there is enough to form an underwater landslide the same size as that in 1929.
- "Le séisme de magnitude 7,2 et le tsunami de 1929 sur les "Grands Bancs"". Natural Resources Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- Engdahl, E. R.; Vallaseñor, A. "Global seismicity: 1900–1999". International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology (PDF). Part A, Volume 81A (First ed.). Academic Press; (Sept. 12, 2002). p. 675. ISBN 978-0124406520.
- Fine, I. V.; Rabinovich, A. B.; Bornhold, B. D.; Thomson, R. E.; Kulikov, E. A. (2005). "The Grand Banks landslide-generated tsunami of November 18, 1929: preliminary analysis and numerical modeling" (PDF). Marine Geology. Elsevier. 215 (1–2): 45–57. Bibcode:2005MGeol.215...45F. doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2004.11.007. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2007.
- Ruffman, A.; Hann, V. (2006). "The Newfoundland Tsunami of November 18, 1929: An Examination of the Twenty-eight Deaths of the "South Coast Disaster"" (PDF). Newfoundland and Labrador Studies: 57. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Ruffman, Alan (1992). "Archiving Content The 1929 Tsunami In St. Lawrence, Newfoundland" (PDF). Tsunami Runup Mapping As an Emergency Preparedness Planning Tool:. Emergency Preparedness Protection civile Canada. 2-Appendices and Enclosures: 294. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- The Magnitude 7.2 1929 "Grand Banks" earthquake and tsunami – Natural Resources Canada
- The South Shore disaster: Newfoundland's tsunami
- Not Too Long Ago (first hand accounts of the tsunami, pp. 51–60)
- Newfoundland Tsunami – November 18, 1929 – Library and Archives Canada
- Marine Geology Volume 215, Issues 1–2 International Journal of Marine geology, Geochemistry and Geophysics (2004) ISSN 0025-3227
- The International Seismological Centre has a bibliography and/or authoritative data for this event.