It's only happened once in history that we know of, but a tsunami did once travel up the Mississippi River in Missouri and by the time it was done, 30 boats were no more.

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I would imagine that most people are at least generally aware of the historic New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes between December of 1811 and March of 1812, but I bet not as many know of what happened to the Mississippi River after the Earth shook violently.

I found two accounts, one from The History Channel and the other from A-Z Animals that discussed a massive Mississippi River tsunami that not only caused the river to flow upstream for 24 hours, but also did many other things.

On December 16, 1811 at around 7:15am, an estimated 8.6 earthquake emanated from the New Madrid Fault.  That caused an almost instant wave of water to careen up the banks of the Mississippi River. The History Channel describes what happened like this:

Waterfalls were created in an instant; in one report, 30 boats were helplessly thrown over falls, killing the people on board.

A-Z Animals says the only other time the Mississippi River has flowed backwards was briefly in 2012 when Hurricane Isaac hit the delta of the river in the Gulf.

Can a tsunami really happen in a river?

That was a real question on Quora and this historic event is obviously proof that is a yes. While the 1812 Missouri event wasn't likely what most envision when they think of a tsunami hitting a coastal area, it absolutely was a terrifying force when it moved up the Missouri coast along the Mississippi River that day.

This Hidden Cabin Airbnb Floats on the Mississippi River

Gallery Credit: Entire place hosted by Samantha, Airbnb

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