The tsunami that killed over 200 people in Samoa and Tonga earlier this year, growing to 46 feet (14 meters) high - more than two times higher than most buildings crashed, researchers said on Friday.
New Zealand researchers are studying the size, strength and extent of the tsunami, as part of efforts to prevent future disasters, said they found three devastating waves caused by underwater earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 in September.
The massive waves that hit Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga entirely destroyed the traditional wooden houses, many of them separately and history along the coast, while the reinforced concrete buildings suffered minor injuries, said Stephen Reese, a risk engineer with New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
The waves were up to 46 feet (14 meters) high, Reese told The Associated Press. The researchers measured the water marks on buildings and trees to help confirm the height of the waves.
"In some areas there was almost nothing" before the waves reached up to 765 meters (700 feet) inland, said Reese. Width Rev. saved some villages, helping to reduce wave height of about 10 feet (3 meters), Reese said.
Quake created a shortage of Samoa seabed up to 190 miles (300 km) long and 23 feet (7 meters) deep. September 29 tsunami killed 34 people in American Samoa, Samoa 183 and nine in Tonga.