An 8.5-magnitude earthquake off the Chilean coast brought death and destruction throughout the Pacific basin in 1960, the effects of which were felt in Coronado.
The earthquake took place May 24, 1960, the result of a massive plate shift off the coast of southern Chile. Displaced water from that event created a tsunami that charged relentlessly west and north at speeds in excess of 400 miles per hour.
In 1960 primary access to Coronado involved riding the car-carrying ferryboats from San Diego. Commuter traffic was then, much as it is now, at its peak early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
For riders aboard the ferryboat North Island that morning, the extreme tidal changes caused by the Chilean tsunami swept their ferry a mile down the bay, spinning out of control. It caught the captain of the North Island completely by surprise, and it took him half an hour to regain control of his boat.
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