1964 Mazatlan tsunami


“On March 27, 1964, an earthquake in Alaska caused a vertical displacement of the seabed of 11.3 meters, causing a tsunami. That Good Friday, the tsunami generated by the earthquake was recorded in most of the museum stations of the Mexican Pacific coast 

Ensenada was the only Mexican station where the height of the initial tsunami wave reached more than one meter and the maximum height of the following waves exceeded two meters … 

The tsunami caused fear in the coastal populations of the Mexican Pacific. In Ensenada and Mazatlan, thousands of people fled to the upper parts, fearful of being affected by the tsunami.

Mazatlan was abruptly abandoned by most of the inhabitants in just two hours. In Ensenada, about twenty thousand people fled to the hills. The exodus was done on foot and in cars. Some minor accidents were reported due to the tumultuous leak, ”says the NOROESTE newspaper, recalling that date.

There is the anecdote that while Governor Leopoldo Sánchez Célis was in Altata, playing “paco” with his friends and throwing his whiskeys, after twelve o’clock in the evening he was told by SEGOB what had happened in Alaska and that preventive measures had to be taken with the people who lived on the Sinaloa coast; so his advisors decided that those who would be in danger would be the people who were in Mazatlan, but for the moment there was no need to worry; The rest of the state would have no real danger.

Sánchez Celis, ordered; “That they take out all the people of Mazatlan immediately, with order and on time, that no one stays in their homes because otherwise they are fucked” ….

The instructions were transmitted and when the order came to the sound car, it was already very distorted: “That people leave their homes and go far, if they do not they will be fucked”.

Resultado de imagen de maremoto de mazatlan


In the early morning of Saturday of glory, we were awakened by the rumble of a sound car, urging the population to flee as soon as possible from the lower parts of Mazatlan as a tsunami would strike in the port at 5 in the morning As the weather service had said, it was whipping on the shores of Alaska and would do it here too. 

The city became chaos, everyone wanted to leave at the same time to take refuge in the upper parts of Mazatlan and some out of here, some people left in smaller cloths, terrified because Mazatlan would soon disappear.
Doña María Molina, a neighbor of Gutiérrez Nájera Street, when crossing Juan Carrasco Avenue, was going to meet her relatives, she was terrified because she believed that the lights of the long rows of cars were the waves that were dragging everything.

My Mom, a very pretty woman, and quite vain, while we ran to get into the van that would take us to the hill to take the water, in front of the rose bushes. He said “Well, if the house is going to disappear with everything in it, at least wait for me to put on my dress and my new coat, and I’m not going to leave my jewelry, I wear them, and I’m also going to get the money from box”. 

With all the patience in the world, Doña Margarita painted, perfumed, arranged, while we were all on top of the truck desperate to get safe.

Already on the hill, Doña María Molina, gave us a sermon to all those gathered there, telling us to repent of sins, because that was a punishment from God for the excesses committed in those holy days.

We listened attentively to her while we ate of the great casserole casseroles we had to have at least to eat while the lower parts of Mazatlan would disappear under the gigantic sea wave.

Many things that later became funny to us that night, a neighbor of Leandro Valle Street knocked on the door of Don Guillermo Lizárraga, telling him to get up because a Marine Wave was coming. To which Mr. Lizárraga asleep still answers; “Let Benito sleep, which can make us a sea seal.

Some more lively and unbelievers took advantage of the confusion to stay to visit the homes of others in search of something that the frightened tourists and Mazatlecos would have left in a hurry.
The good thing about this is that it did not happen in fright, but we would not be here to tell it and live this experience again.

Just like these there are many more anecdotes of the tsunami. That we remember with nostalgia 56years of this event that mobilized Mazatlan and tourists. 

Source: caposehua.com, amigosdemazatlan.com.mx, Sel, quepasaenmazatlanlinea.com