The first tsunami wave struck the town
of Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas, approximately
10 minutes after the first shock, and the second wave approximately
10 minutes after the second shock. Both waves struck the harbor
at Charlotte Amalie first as a large recession of water, followed
by a bore, which eyewitness accounts describe as a 4.5 to 6.1
meter wall of water. At the southern point of Water Island, located
approximately four kilometers from Charlotte Amalie, the bore
was reportedly 12.1 meters high! The waves destroyed many small
boats anchored in the harbor, leveled the town's iron warf, and
either flooded out or destroyed all buildings located along the
waterfront area. The waves also damaged a United States Navy
ship De Soto, that happened to be anchored in the harbor at the
time of the event. The tsunami produced an estimated 2.4 meters
of runup at Charlotte Amalie, and a maximum 75 meter inland inundation.
Fredriksted St. Croix was struck by two
large tsunami waves, each approximately 7.6 meters high, according
to eyewitness accounts. These waves caused severe damage along
the waterfront, washing several wooden houses and other structures
a considerable distance inland. The waves destroyed many of the
smaller boats anchored in the harbor, and beached a large United
States Navy ship, the Monongahela (see photo below). A total
of five people died as a result of the tsunami. Eyewitness accounts
from Frederiksted indicate that the water withdrew from the harbor
almost immediately after the earthquake, which suggests that
the first wave to strike here might have been a local tsunami
produced by a submarine landslide.
Reports from Christiansted, St. Croix,
indicate that the tsunami inundated an area up to 91 meters inland.
The greatest damage here occurred at Gallows Bay, where the waves
destroyed 20 houses and beached many boats.