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Native American Oral traditions tell of tsunami's destruction hundreds of years ago
Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries ^ | Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries

Posted on 03/16/2012 2:06:22 PM PDT by Theoria

At 9PM on January 26, 1700 one of the world's largest earthquakes occurred along the west coast of North America. The undersea Cascadia thrust fault ruptured along a 680 mile length, from mid Vancouver Island to northern California in a great earthquake, producing tremendous shaking and a huge tsunami that swept across the Pacific.

The Cascadia fault is the boundary between two of the Earth's tectonic plates: the smaller offshore Juan de Fuca plate that is sliding under the much larger North American plate.

The earthquake also left unmistakable signatures in the geological record as the outer coastal regions subsided and drowned coastal marshlands and forests that were subsequently covered with younger sediments.

The recognition of definitive signatures in the geological record tells us the January 26, 1700 event was not a unique event, but has repeated many times at irregular intervals of hundreds of years. Geological evidence indicates that 13 great earthquakes have occurred in the last 6000 years.

Oral traditions as history

(From an article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer and the Canadian Geological Survey)

Oral traditions of many Native American tribes describe what is interpreted as this huge earthquake and tsunami destroying coastal villages throughout what is now northern California, Oregon, Washington and southern British Columbia.

"There was a shaking, jumping up and trembling of the earth beneath, and a rolling up of the great waters."

So says an ancient tale told to generations of Quilleute and Hoh Indians. Variations of this saga of an epic battle between the Thunderbird and the Whale are found among Pacific Northwest Tribes from Vancouver Island to Oregon's Tillamook tribe.

It's clear now that the stories document a massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Northwest before the arrival of European settlers. But because the tales were treated as myths, it wasn't until the early 1990s that one researcher recognized their value for the study of earthquakes.

"These stories just bristle with information," said Ruth Ludwin, a seismologist at the University of Washington. In addition to using the tools of modern science and technology to study earthquakes, Ludwin has spent considerable effort looking into the tribes' oral histories of these events.

Popular descriptions of earthquakes have always been an important resource for seismologists.

Ludwin and others have identified previously unknown quakes from scouring 19th century news clippings or other reports. Tribal lore had been a largely untapped resource, she said, because much of it had been lost to time and the information is often disguised.

"When I first started looking into the tribal histories, I was looking for statements that said something like 'the ground shook' or 'the land slid' or that sort of thing, direct descriptions," Ludwin said. But this isn't the way the tribes described things, she said. Major, traumatic events were described in the rich tradition of tribal mythology.

"It's not trivial information," Ludwin said. Once you dig deep enough and begin to understand the patterns and symbols conveyed by the words and sentence structures, she said, an astonishing amount of descriptive data begins to emerge.

In the mid-1980s, UW geologist Brian Atwater found evidence proving that the region had been hit in 1700 by a massive "subduction zone" quake big enough to send a destructive tsunami all the way to Japan. Starting in the early 1990s, Ludwin began searching for Native American descriptions of the event.

"Along the way, I picked up a lot of stories about landslides," she said. But she couldn't find anything that seemed to match the 1700 event, until she took a closer look at the story of Thunderbird and Whale.

"It's a story of the underworld versus the over-world," Ludwin said.

The Whale was a monster, killing other whales and depriving the people of meat and oil. The Thunderbird, a benevolent supernatural being, saw from its home high in the mountains that the people were starving. The great bird soared out over the coastal waters, then plunged into the ocean and seized the Whale.

A struggle ensued first in the water, the tribal tale says. "The waters receded and rose again. Many canoes came down in trees and were destroyed and numerous lives were lost."

The Thunderbird eventually succeeds in lifting the evil Whale out of the ocean, carrying it "high into the air (and then) dropping it to the land surface at Beaver prairie. Then at this place there was another great battle."

Ludwin, borrowing tools from anthropology and linguistics, was able to sort out statements meant to convey traditional wisdom or perspective from the statements that seemed to refer to actual, witnessed events.

"A picture began to emerge that looked a lot like what you'd expect from a major quake," she said. One tribe even had what sounds like an explanation for aftershocks, noting Whale had a son, Subbus, who took Thunderbird several more days to locate and kill. The earth-rumbling struggle persisted, but eventually Subbus was subdued.

"I can't say for certain this was the 1700 event, but it sure sounds like it," Ludwin said. "You hear the same story from tribes all along the coast."

She intends to continue trying to piece all these oral histories together to see if these descriptions offer scientists today any new information. It's a technique seismologists have used for a long time, before they had instruments to give them hard numbers.

"Even into the 1960s, the best information we got was reported by 'human seismometers,'" Ludwin said.

Another story from the Maka Tribe in Washington state tells of a huge earthquake occurring in the middle of the night. in some cases after people in a doomed village have misbehaved. Elders tell the young that they must run for high ground. Those who heed their warning survive, although the 'flood' waters follow close behind them. They spend a cold night in the hills, surrounded by animals who have also fled the flood. In the morning they find that all traces of their village, and all neighboring coastal villages, have been completely washed away and no one else has survived.

"Among the signs of danger, the elders warn, is long-lasting shaking moving from west to east, and sand that becomes so loose people walking on the beach sink into it."

The Cowichan people on Vancouver Island tell the story of earthquake shaking collapsing houses and causing numerous landslides. The shaking was so violent that people could not stand and so prolonged that it made them sick. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the tsunami completely destroyed the winter village of the Pachena Bay people with no survivors. These events are recorded in the oral traditions of the First Nations people on Vancouver Island.

The tsunami swept across the Pacific also causing destruction along the Pacific coast of Japan. It is the accurate descriptions of the tsunami and the accurate time keeping by the Japanese that allows us to confidently know the size and exact time of this great earthquake.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: 1700; 170001; 17000126; atlantis; beaverprairie; cascadiafault; catastrophism; earthquake; godsgravesglyphs; japan; oraltradition; pacific; storytelling; subbus; thunderbird; tradition; tsunami; vancouver; vancouverisland; whale

1 posted on 03/16/2012 2:06:28 PM PDT by Theoria
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To: SunkenCiv

catastrophe, oral tradition..


2 posted on 03/16/2012 2:07:04 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

Later


3 posted on 03/16/2012 2:14:00 PM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican
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To: Theoria

There is evidence that Vancouver Island moved into its current position over many thousands of years.


4 posted on 03/16/2012 2:19:20 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Beware the Sweater Vest)
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To: Theoria

1828: According to research by Lawrence Buchner, a severe earthquake occured in Siskiyou County (Northern CA.) According to “Old Man Ruffy”, a Karok Indian who died in 1930 at the age of 110-115 years, “The ground went this way and that way. Mountains fell down. Trees fell down, and many big ponds of water (lakes) were formed high up in the mountains. Many Indians were killed at that time, because Indians in those days lived in holes in the ground (caves and tunnels) and the mountains fell down and buried them.” ) Etna - from Mule Train to ‘Copter; Eschscholtzia Parlor No. 112 - Native Daughters of the Golden West; Etna, CA; c 1965. Page 16


5 posted on 03/16/2012 3:04:50 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: Theoria; 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; ...

Thanks Theoria.




6 posted on 03/16/2012 3:26:53 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Theoria.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


7 posted on 03/16/2012 3:29:54 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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The authors also cite these kinds of lore:

The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization

by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Simon Warwick-Smith


8 posted on 03/16/2012 3:31:08 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: Theoria
The Whale was a monster, killing other whales and depriving the people of meat and oil. The Thunderbird, a benevolent supernatural being, saw from its home high in the mountains that the people were starving. The great bird soared out over the coastal waters, then plunged into the ocean and seized the Whale.

A struggle ensued first in the water, the tribal tale says. "The waters receded and rose again. Many canoes came down in trees and were destroyed and numerous lives were lost."

The Thunderbird eventually succeeds in lifting the evil Whale out of the ocean, carrying it "high into the air (and then) dropping it to the land surface at Beaver prairie. Then at this place there was another great battle."

...Whale had a son, Subbus, who took Thunderbird several more days to locate and kill. The earth-rumbling struggle persisted, but eventually Subbus was subdued.

ET battle, obviously. The Leftist Whales travelled in USOs, manipulating the flow of fish and animals along the coast to reward or punish the natives depending upon whether they served them properly. The Rightwing Thunderbird UFOs travelled in the sky, saw this lockdown, and attacked.

Due the the massive force fields and energy weapons used by these vehicles as they grappled together in their antigravity bubbles and bounced up and down upon the ocean, tidal waves and earthquakes were generated. After the Leftist USO was destroyed on the ground, some escape pod ran for it, and it took a while longer to get them all, which is why the pounding continued for awhile.

Simple.

9 posted on 03/16/2012 3:37:19 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: Theoria

Interesting post - thanks! Many of the “backward” natives in the Indian Ocean tsunami also survived because of their stories - stories that were not known, or forgotten by the city-folks.

There is an Indian “legend” in Southeast Alaska that tells the story of the Ice king invading the land because the people did not send him a princess to marry. And the people were forced to flee to the south. Hundreds of years later a princess was found for him, and they were allowed to move back to their native territory. They think now that it records the glacial expansion into their valley and then retreat from hundreds of years ago.


10 posted on 03/16/2012 3:39:36 PM PDT by 21twelve
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To: Theoria

The tales were dissmissed because they were weird. Only by reverse engineering do they make sense.


11 posted on 03/16/2012 4:10:14 PM PDT by Cold Heart
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the ping(s) Civ.

:-)


12 posted on 03/16/2012 5:05:32 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: Theoria

Perhaps they will take their open-mindedness they give to the Indian stories and turn it onto the real history of mankind narrated into the Bible.


13 posted on 03/16/2012 5:46:23 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Quix; Alamo-Girl; Amityschild; AngieGal; AnimalLover; Ann de IL; aposiopetic; aragorn; auggy; ...
I'm pinging you as a surrogate. Thought I'd add some appropriate art:')

The Deluge by Francis Danby, 1840

14 posted on 03/16/2012 6:51:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: fanfan

My pleasure, how are you doing?


15 posted on 03/16/2012 7:14:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: Theoria; Southside_Chicago_Republican; Eric in the Ozarks; marsh2; Talisker; 21twelve; ...

the problem with folklore is that there’s no actual date, or often even some relative reference (such as, it happened such-and-such a year of the reign of some ruler; or, it was in the time of your great-grandfather). This isn’t surprising since many, many people don’t use a year count of any kind, merely keeping track of the annual calendar for purposes of planting and whatnot.


16 posted on 03/16/2012 7:18:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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Do you want to hear a real earthquake story? Here you go... [Lituya Bay, 1958]
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3a9f1cc964a4.htm

Was Bristol Hit By A Tsunami? (1607)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1826205/posts
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070430102012.htm

Clare Places: Islands: Mutton Island or Enniskerry
(9th century catastrophe in Ireland)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1524751/posts
http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/places/mutton_island.htm

Ancient tsunami ‘hit New York’ [300BC]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2243522/posts
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8028949.stm

[insert here the tsunami accounts from Homer and Thucydides]

Ancient Crash, Epic Wave [3000 BC]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1738251/posts
Did an Asteroid Impact Cause an Ancient Tsunami?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1739396/posts
Did A Comet Cause The Great Flood?
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1929074/posts

Giant wave hit ancient Scotland [5000BC]
http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1530000/images/_1531049_wav300.jpg
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2398556/posts

The moment Britain became an island [6,100BC]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2673785/posts
How a prehistoric ‘super river’ turned Britain into an island nation
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2398556/posts

Research shows part of Alaska inundated by ancient megafloods [15K BC]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2502434/posts
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/uow-rsp042810.php


17 posted on 03/16/2012 7:28:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: baynut

whoops, forgot the actual pinging. :’(

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2860043/posts?page=17#17


18 posted on 03/16/2012 7:33:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: SunkenCiv

Thanks for the ping!


19 posted on 03/16/2012 8:35:36 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

Bookmark


20 posted on 03/16/2012 11:54:06 PM PDT by Publius6961 (“It’s easy to make phony promises you can’t keep.” - Obama, Feb23, 2012)
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To: Talisker

I like you explanation.


21 posted on 03/17/2012 6:11:32 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Bigg Red

you = your


22 posted on 03/17/2012 6:12:12 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Pray for our republic.)
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To: Theoria

Interesting post...In our arrogrance we think history from hundred of years ago is without value because he is passed down from people’s with no written history

Amazing that atheists think the bible is a myth or fairytale but will believe oral history from native Americans as truth

The Torah is hand copied for thousands of years without a single error but is a fabrication


23 posted on 03/17/2012 6:26:15 AM PDT by Popman (America is squandering its wealth on riotous living, war, and welfare.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Good thanks, and you?
Are you loving this early spring?

I try not to FReep at work anymore, so I don’t get on FR as often as I used to, AND I want to play in the dirt. I started spanish onions and poppies from seed last Monday, and am trying to resist planting outside.


24 posted on 03/17/2012 1:39:22 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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To: fanfan

Wow, you’re way ahead of me!


25 posted on 03/17/2012 9:47:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: SunkenCiv
Not really. Most people do onions from “sets”, but I am trying them from seed, and if I want to harvest them this Sept., I have to start them now. The Poppies will bloom this year if started now, so I'm trying those too.

Most of my veg. and annual flower seeds won't be started until mid-late April. Last frost date here is the 3rd week in May.

26 posted on 03/18/2012 12:40:49 PM PDT by fanfan (This is not my Father's Ontario. http://www.ontariolandowners.ca/)
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