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The tsunami in question traveled from Japan to the west coast of the United States after the huge Japan earthquake which registered 8.9 on the Richter scale. Only four other earthquakes since 1900 have been larger: Chile, 1960, 9.5 magnitude; Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1964 9.2 magnitude; Northern Sumatra, 2004 9.1 magnitude; Kamchatka, 1952 9.0 magnitude.
Crescent City, CA had been evacuated. Despite this, apparently some had stayed to witness the carnage. Four were swept out to sea. One is still missing. The man had reportedly been taking pictures of the waves, and the Coast Guard is still searching for him.
The eight-foot-high waves from the Sendai Earthquake, as it is now being called, destroyed much of Crescent City harbor. Boats in the harbor were battered and crushed, and nearly Highway 101 was closed.
Crescent CIty sits on the border between California and Oregon. It has suffered before at the brunt of tsunami waves. In 1965, it felt the wrath of a tsunami that killed 11 people and destroyed 289 homes and businesses. That tsunami was the result of the Good Friday Earthquake off Anchorage, Alaska.