Stories tagged tsunami

Mount Merapi
Mount MerapiCourtesy Wikimedia Commons
Hundreds of people are still missing and feared drowned from the tsunami triggered by the large earthquake that struck Indonesia earlier this week. So far 340 deaths have been blamed on the 10-foot waves that washed over many of the tiny and remote islands in the Mentawai chain. The tsunami warning system set in place after 2004's devastating tsunami apparently malfunctioned due to vandalism to some of its expensive sensors. But local officials say the tsunami came on so quickly that even if they had been functioning the warnings would have been useless. Four hundred people are still missing, and several aftershocks, coupled with changing weather conditions have made search and rescue efforts difficult. Meanwhile, to the east on the island of Java, Mount Merapi, has erupted again and is adding to Indonesia's woes. Some scientists think the two disasters may be linked.

BBC report
Sydney Morning Herald story


WavesCourtesy skittzitilby
Three unusually large waves crashed into a Mediterranean cruise ship traveling between Barcelona, Spain and Genoa, Italy killing two passengers. Witnesses say the 26-foot waves smashed windows on the front of the ship. By freak wave standards these weren't by any means the largest (see Thor's huge wave post from a few years ago), but they were large enough to do damage. Rogue waves aren't uncommon, and sailing lore often mentions the "Three Sisters", abnormally large waves that come in sets of threes among smaller waves, like these recent ones did. This NOAA webpage attributes these kinds of freakish waves to storms and high winds, but is it possible these abnormal killer waves were generated by the recent earthquake in Chile? Just a thought.

BBC story

While much of the Pacific Rim area was on a tsunami alert this weekend in the wake of the earthquake in Chile, the harbor of Long Beach experienced something much different on Saturday. The harbor had a huge tidal drop occur in just a matter of minutes, grounding many sailboats and yachts and closing the harbor to large sea vessels for a while. Here's a complete video report:

The other amazing thing, nothing anywhere near this drastic happened in any other California harbors the same day.


A tsunami of New Yorkers head for the highlands.: Would the evacuation be this organized?
A tsunami of New Yorkers head for the highlands.: Would the evacuation be this organized?Courtesy Pabo76
What say we take a breather from all the bleak and uncertain flu news and turn our collective attention to the possibility of a tsunami washing away the East Coast of the USA? Fortunately no such threat is on the horizon at the present moment but scientists have found evidence they say indicates a large tsunami hit areas of New York and New Jersey some 2300 years ago.

The evidence includes large gravel, wood deposits, and marine fossils found in core samples across the region dating to 300BC, and suggests some sort of violent event took place in the region. The size and condition of some of the deposits point to strong reworking of material rather than just a single violent storm. The wave is estimated to have been 9 to 12 feet in height with the velocity of the water estimated at about a meter per second. If a similar tsunami hit Manhattan today no doubt there’d be big trouble.

But Atlantic tsunamis are rare events. Unlike the Pacific and Indian oceans where tectonic plates are colliding and earthquakes are more common, the plates along the Atlantic ridge are spreading apart. That’s not to say an Atlantic tsunami isn’t possible today. In 1929, a tsunami swept into the coast of Newfoundland killing more than two dozen people. The cause was a massive underwater landslide triggered by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the Grand Banks.

But neither an earthquake nor a submarine slump may have been involved in the 300BC tsunami. Recent research indicates an asteroid impact somewhere off the Atlantic coast dating to about the same time. Ejecta found in the local sediments such as spherules, shocked quartz, and nanodiamonds could only have been created under extreme temperatures and pressures produced by an extraterrestrial. No crater has been located as of yet but the scientists continue searching.

BBC ancient tsunami story
More about the 300BC tsunami
East Coast tsunami threat considered in 2004

This article in Science News suggests that seven immense chunks of coral found more than 100 yards from the beach on a Tongan Island could be the world’s largest tsunami debris. Each of the chunks of coral weigh more than 46 metric tons each with the largest being three stories tall and 1,200 metric tons.

Check out a slide show of the coral chunks here.


Coronal Mass Ejection: View of solar event taken in ultraviolet light by the SOHO spacecraft.
Coronal Mass Ejection: View of solar event taken in ultraviolet light by the SOHO spacecraft.Courtesy NASA
Check out the first footage of a gigantic “tsunami” captured plowing through our Sun’s atmosphere. The event was triggered by some sort of explosion on the Sun such as a solar flare or coronal mass ejection (CME). The outward-spreading wave spanned the nearly one million kilometers (600,000 miles) of the solar disk in just half an hour. But it’s the amount of energy released that is truly mind-boggling. According to one of the researchers, these explosions release “about two billion times the annual world energy consumption in just a fraction of a second.”


That's no hydrothermal explosion: The water blasting from Castle Geyser at Yellowstone National Park is a pop-gun shot compared to the mile-high hydrothermal explosion that rocked the park some 14,000 years ago.
That's no hydrothermal explosion: The water blasting from Castle Geyser at Yellowstone National Park is a pop-gun shot compared to the mile-high hydrothermal explosion that rocked the park some 14,000 years ago.Courtesy Wikipedia
It seems like every few weeks I run into more evidence that Yellowstone has, or will again be, the most violent place on Earth.

Scientists this past weekend at a seminar at our national park jewel heard that some 13,000 years ago, an earthquake created the largest-ever hydrothermal explosion, firing off tsunami-size waves that rumbled out from Lake Yellowstone for miles. Debris from the impact could be found as far as 18 miles away and the steam column from the blast may have risen up has high as a mile.

The result of that explosion was the Mary Bay crater, which stretches across the north end of the lake. The massive water eruption may have released as much as 77 million cubic feet of water. Such explosions happen when hot water below the lake’s bottom suddenly flashes into steam and bursts upwards.

Since that time, researchers also figure there have been around 20 smaller hydrothermal explosions around Yellowstone, leaving behind craters larger than a football field. Even smaller explosions happen on a much more frequent basis, but rarely when people are around or causing significant damage. One such blast in 1989 sent rock and debris 200 feet into the air.

And while bloggers and cable TV stations like to make a big deal about Yellowstone being a super volcano ready to blow again, researchers say it’s much more likely that another hydrothermal explosion will alter the park’s landscape first.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.


Noah's Ark: by Edward Hicks
Noah's Ark: by Edward Hicks


What happens when a giant meteor lands in the ocean? Not only would there be a big splash, but heat and energy equal to a multi-megaton bomb would melt rock, generate steam and wind, and create a mega-tsunami. The mega-tsunami would be at least 600 feet high. Such a wave would carry ocean sediments several miles inland creating formations called chevrons.

Google maps reveal new craters

Using google-maps scientists are finding many such chevrons. Two chevrons found over four miles inland near Carpentaria in north central Australia both pointed north into the ocean. Using surface altimetry data from satellites, two craters were found on the ocean bottom that contained melted rocks and magnetic spheres with fractures and textures characteristic of a cosmic impact.

“We found diatoms fused to tektites,” a glassy substance formed by meteors. The molten glass and shattered rocks could not be produced by anything other than an impact."

New evidence indicates meteor strike around time of Noah

Last August scientists collected samples from four huge chevrons in Madegascar.

Last month, Dee Breger, director of microscopy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, looked at the samples under a scanning electron microscope and found benthic foraminifera, tiny fossils from the ocean floor, sprinkled throughout. Her close-ups revealed splashes of iron, nickel and chrome fused to the fossils.
About 900 miles southeast from the Madagascar chevrons, in deep ocean, is Burckle crater, which Dr. Abbott discovered last year. Although its sediments have not been directly sampled, cores from the area contain high levels of nickel and magnetic components associated with impact ejecta.
Burckle crater has not been dated, but Dr. Abbott estimates that it is 4,500 to 5,000 years old.

Mythology dates flood to Solar eclipse in 2807 B.C.

An environmental archaeologist, Dr. Masse, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico analyzed 175 flood myths from around the world, and tried to relate them to known and accurately dated natural events like solar eclipses and volcanic eruptions. Fourteen flood myths specifically mention a full solar eclipse, which could have been the one that occurred in May 2807 B.C.
Half the myths talk of a torrential downpour. A third talks of a tsunami. Worldwide they describe hurricane force winds and darkness during the storm. All of these could come from a metior strike and mega-tsunami.

Source article from New York Times.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean about 220 miles from Jakarta, Indonesia. It caused tsunamis which are most likely responsible for the death of at least 100 people and the injury of another 150 people. The earthquake was followed by strong aftershocks.


Tsunami warnings have been issued for Fiji and New Zealand after a earthquake of 7.8 magnitude shook the Pacific Ocean.

The quake's epicenter was about 153 miles off the coast of Tonga.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued the alert for Tonga, Niue, American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, and Wallis-Futuna.

If a tsunami does occur, it could start to affect the islands by as early as 12:15pm (Minnesota time).

We'll post updates...