When you think of a tsunamis the maybe Indonesia or Japan come to mind but not West Michigan.

Here's how The National Ocean Service defines a tsunami,

Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea.

That definition was very specific to a body of water, "sea."  When this happens in the Great Lakes it's called a meteotsunami.  A meteotsunami is caused by weather not an earthquake according to WWMT who covered the rare phenomenon that proved to be deadly on July 4th, 2003 in Lake Michigan,

Seven people lost their lives in Lake Michigan, all in an eight-mile stretch of beach from Warren Dunes State Park south to Harbert. It was an entire year's worth of drownings in one day.

Thankfully, we'll never see the level of life loss and damage with a meteotsunami that Indonesia experienced in 2004 during the most destructive tsunami in history according to Australian Geographic,

The 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra was estimated to occur at a depth of 30 km. The fault zone that caused the tsunami was roughly 1300 km long, vertically displacing the sea floor by several metres along that length. The ensuing tsunami was as tall as 50 m, reaching 5 km inland near Meubolah, Sumatra. This tsunami is also the most widely recorded, with nearly one thousand combined tide gauge and eyewitness measurements from around the world reporting a rise in wave height, including places in the US, the UK and Antarctica. An estimated US$10b of damages is attributed to the disaster, with around 230,000 people reported dead.

With that being said, it's still important to be aware that yes, tsunamis or "meteotsunamis" are a thing in the Great Lakes.

 

 


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