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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami
for describing the mega tsunami disaster that wiped early
civilizations off the shores of the Mediterranean.

Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami

Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami (2008) - 50 minutes
Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami at Amazon.com

Eight thousand years before the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, waves taller than the Statue of Liberty ravaged the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, decimating ancient villages and killing untold numbers of people.

In this stunning program from MEGA DISASTERS, watch as experts piece together evidence from this incredible storm, and reveal the face of the ancient tsunami for the first time. For more than eight millennia, the trigger of the mega tsunami remained a mystery; but, in 1996, a group of Italian scientists discovered an incredible clue in the most unlikely of places: two miles up, on the summit of Mt. Etna. Now, using all of their expertise, the scientists set out to prove their theory and shed light on the severity of the tsunami's destruction. Through their work, the team also examines whether a tsunami of this magnitude could happen again and how it would affect people the world over.

Featuring expert interviews, staggering footage from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and amazing 3-D computer-generated animation, MEGA TSUNAMI recreates the massive waves that may have changed the course of history.

11-22-18 Shallow Mexican seabed traps tsunamis so they strike land repeatedly
Tsunamis can keep pummelling the same patch of coast for days at a time if conditions are right. The finding means the initial big wave may not be the only source of danger, and authorities might need to rethink their evacuation responses following a tsunami alert. On 8 September 2017 a deadly magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck Mexico – the first of two major tremors in the area that month. The quake caused a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean. It reached a maximum height of three metres when it hit the Mexican coast – relatively modest for tsunami standards. However, the tsunami was unusually long-lived. Local tide gauges show that weaker tsunami waves kept lashing the coast for three days after the initial wave. Long-lasting tsunamis have been seen before. Waves from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami that devastated parts of Japan were detectable for five days, but that tsunami was caused by a bigger earthquake and the initial wave reached run-up heights of 30m. The Mexico tsunami’s persistence is surprising. “It’s 100 times smaller in terms of energy,” says Diego Melgar at the University of Oregon in Eugene – which makes it odd that its effects lasted almost as long as the effects of the Tohoku tsunami. To work out why the tsunami had such staying power, Melgar and Angel Ruiz-Angulo of the National Autonomous University of Mexico created a computer model of the tsunami. The key factor seems to be that the tsunami happened not far offshore and within the Tehuantepec continental shelf. This region of the ocean has a very flat and shallow seafloor that stretches over 100 kilometres offshore. A tsunami trapped in one of those shallow shelves “just knocks about for a long time”, says Melgar. It reflects off the shore and bounces out to sea – and then, when it hits the large body of very deep water at the edge of the continental shelf it reflects back towards the coast. “It reverberates for a very long time,” like a sound echoing in a concert hall with excellent acoustics.

2-21-18 Huge underwater landslides and tsunamis may be caused by ooze
Layers of ooze in the seabed may be responsible for submarine “megaslides” that dwarf ordinary landslides and can cause tsunamis. THE largest landslides on Earth happen in the oceans, and an ooze of dead plankton may be responsible. If so, it could help us predict the risk of devastating tsunamis triggered by these events. Far beneath the waves, huge “megaslides” can transport 3000 cubic kilometres of sediment at speeds of up to 80 metres per second. The largest such event on record was the Storegga Slide 8150 years ago off the coast of Norway. Dwarfing every slide known on land, it caused a tsunami that flooded coastlines around the North Sea by up to 20 metres. This may have been devastating for the prehistoric inhabitants of the area. Nobody knows what triggers megaslides. The one clue was that past events had a smooth surface underlying them, suggesting the sediment must have slid over some kind of layer of weakness. But there the trail went cold. “The problem has been that this weak zone vanishes with the landslide,” says Morelia Urlaub at the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. Now Urlaub and her colleagues believe that the cause of the weak zone is ooze, a “fluffy” substance made of dead single-celled organisms called diatoms. It forms when diatoms – a major component of plankton – die and drift down to the seafloor. Urlaub’s team got lucky, she says, because a now defunct international research effort called the Ocean Drilling Program once collected a core from marine sediments off the north-west coast of Africa. It was right next to the site of the Cap Blanc Slide, a megaslide that happened about 149,000 years ago. This gave the team access to deep-sea sediments, where they discovered a 10-metre-thick layer of ooze (Geology, doi.org/ckng).

1-31-18 Sound waves may be able to trigger earlier tsunami warnings
When an earthquake sets off a tsunami, it releases speedy sound waves that could give us early warning. But they still can’t predict the size of the tsunami. When a tsunami is barreling towards a coastline, the only way to stay safe is to flee to higher ground. But even when people are far enough away from the start of the tsunami to have hours of warning, no one really knows how big a tsunami will be or the damage it will inflict until it comes ashore. Now, Chiang C. Mei at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Usama Kadri at Cardiff University hope to give people more warning time by detecting acoustic waves for earthquake-triggered tsunamis. Sound travels substantially quicker than the pressure wave of the tsunami currently used for warnings. Mei and Kadri calculate that high frequency sound waves can be detected far enough in advance to extend tsunami warnings, but Emile Okal at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, cautions that their theoretical approach has limitations. “What I fear in a study like this is that you are measuring the wrong frequency,” says Okal. Both sound and tsunami are pressure waves. Mei and Kadri use the magnitude of high-frequency sound waves made by earthquakes to predict the distribution of resulting low-frequency tsunami waves. But it’s not a straightforward conversion because earthquakes aren’t so simple. How a fault moves during an earthquake and in turn trigger a tsunami can be complicated. The fault may move faster in some places, have more displacement, or even unzip from one end to another. All of this could impact the high frequency sound waves produced, confusing Mei and Kadri’s model.

1-23-18 Tsunami warning for US west coast after magnitude-7.9 earthquake
A tsunami alert was issued for the US west coast, and then cancelled, after a major earthquake struck at sea off the coast of Alaska. A large earthquake has struck off the coast of Alaska. A tsunami warning was issued for the US west coast, but has since been cancelled after no significant tsunami materialised. Initial reports of the earthquake’s magnitude were conflicting, but the US Geological Survey now states it was magnitude 7.9. It struck 280 kilometres south-east of Kodiak, Alaska, at a depth of 25km. The initial tsunami alert was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. It said the tsunami “could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter”. A more detailed alert was then posted by the National Tsunami Warning Center. Tsunami warnings were put in effect for British Columbia, South-East Alaska, South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands. California, Oregon and Washington were also placed on tsunami watch, a lower level of alert. However, a tsunami watch for the state of Hawaii was soon cancelled. The NTWC has since cancelled all the remaining tsunami alerts. There have been no reports of significant damage. At 02:29 local time, the Kodiak Police Department reported that water was receding from the harbour, which can be a sign of an imminent tsunami. However, at 03:21 the Kodiak Area Emergency Services Organization announced that the tsunami warning had been “downgraded to an advisory“.

9-8-17 Mexico on tsunami alert after biggest earthquake in 85 years
Mexico on tsunami alert after biggest earthquake in 85 years
The US Geological Survey reported the earthquake's magnitude as 8.1, making it the biggest earthquake in Mexico since 1932. A major earthquake off Mexico’s southern coast has killed at least five people, sparking tsunami warnings. Further dangerous aftershocks are also expected. The US Geological Survey reported the earthquake’s magnitude as 8.1, making it the biggest earthquake in Mexico since 1932. The USGS said the quake struck at 11.49pm local time on Thursday and its epicentre was 165 kilometres west of Tapachula in Chiapas, not far from Guatemala. It had a depth of 69.7 kilometres. The quake was so strong that it caused buildings to sway violently in Mexico’s capital, more than 1,000 kilometres away. Houses toppled and the quake produced tsunami waves and sent people running into the streets in panic. President Enrique Pena Nieto said 62 aftershocks followed the quake and it was possible one as strong as 7.2 could hit in the next 24 hours. “The house moved like chewing gum and the light and internet went out momentarily,” said resident Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas. Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco said three people were killed in San Cristobal, including two women who died when a house and a wall collapsed. He urged people living near the coast to leave their homes as a protective measure. “There is damage to hospitals that have lost energy,” he said. “Homes, schools and hospitals have been damaged.”

9-8-17 Mexico's strongest quake in century strikes off southern coast
Mexico's strongest quake in century strikes off southern coast
An earthquake described by Mexico's president as the country's strongest in a century has struck off the southern coast, killing at least 33 people. The quake, which President Enrique Peña Nieto said measured 8.2, struck in the Pacific, about 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan. Severe damage has been reported in Oaxaca and Chiapas states. A tsunami warning was initially issued for Mexico and other nearby countries, but later lifted. The quake, which struck at 23:50 local time on Thursday (04:50 GMT Friday), was felt hundreds of miles away in Mexico City, with buildings swaying and people running into the street. The tremors there were reported to have lasted up to a minute. President Peña Nieto said some 50 million Mexicans would have felt the tremor and that the death toll might rise. Twenty-three people are reported dead in Mexico's Oaxaca state, 17 of them in the town of Juchitán, state Governor Alejandro Murat said. Another seven people were reported killed in Chiapas and two children died in Tabasco state, one a baby who died when power was cut to a respirator. At least one person was killed in Guatemala, its president has said. Social media images showed collapsed buildings in Oaxaca, including in the city of the same name, and in Juchitán, where the municipal palace and a number of other structures were levelled.

8-11-17 Mystery of missing tsunamis explained by geological model
Mystery of missing tsunamis explained by geological model
Massive debris flows below the waves can trigger devastating tsunamis, but sometimes they generate the merest ripple – now we know why. How is it that one underwater landslide leads to a devastating tsunami, while another of similar size barely causes a ripple? The answer may lie in the way the sediments slide. Cascading landslides are the ones to watch, step by step slippage is usually more benign. Just over 8000 years ago one of the largest underwater landslides on record occurred off the coast of Norway. Dubbed the Storegga slide, it covered an area of sea floor larger than Scotland, and generated a massive tsunami in the north Atlantic Ocean. That left debris perched 20 metres above sea level on the Shetland islands, and possibly caused a Stone-age population collapse in the coastal region of what is now the north-east UK. Curiously, though, the Trænadjupet slide, another giant underwater landslide in the same area 4500 years ago failed to generate a destructive wave. To find out why the two landslides led to such different outcomes, Finn Løvholt from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute in Oslo, and his colleagues, produced computer models of two types of underwater landslides and compared their tsunami-generating potential. The first model, known as a retrogressive slide, starts at the bottom of the slope and releases its energy block by block, in a staggered series of smaller landslides. The second model, known as the debris slide, begins as a retrogressive slide, but then spreads much more quickly up the slope, leading to multiple blocks of sediment failing in one go.

6-15-17 Magma stored under volcanoes is mostly solid
Magma stored under volcanoes is mostly solid
Analysis of crystals found in lava suggests shift to molten goo occurs close to eruption. Seven hundred years ago, a New Zealand volcano spewed out seven zircon crystals that are providing a peek at the state of magma in underground chambers.Most of a volcano’s magma probably isn’t the oozing, red-hot molten goo often imagined. Analysis of zircon crystals, spewed from a volcanic eruption in New Zealand, show that the crystals spent the vast majority of their time underground in solid, not liquid, magma, researchers report in the June 16 Science. The results suggest the magma melted shortly before the volcano erupted. This finding helps confirm geologists’ emerging picture of magma reservoirs as mostly solid masses, says geologist John Pallister of the U.S. Geological Survey in Vancouver, Wash., who was not involved in the study. And it could help scientists more accurately forecast when volcanoes are poised to erupt.

5-25-17 Deep heat may have spawned one of the world’s deadliest tsunamis
Deep heat may have spawned one of the world’s deadliest tsunamis
Geology suggests why Indonesia’s 2004 quake was surprisingly strong. The quake that ruptured off the coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, was one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, mostly because it set off an enormous tsunami that destroyed nearby island communities. Chemical transformations in minerals deep beneath the seafloor could explain why Indonesia’s 2004 mega-earthquake was unexpectedly destructive, researchers report in the May 26 Science. The magnitude 9.2 quake and the tsunami that it triggered killed more than 250,000 people, flattened villages, and swept homes out to sea across Southeast Asia. It was one of the deadliest tsunamis in recorded history. “It raised a whole bunch of questions, because that wasn't a place in the world where we thought a magnitude 9 earthquake would occur,” says study coauthor Brandon Dugan, a geophysicist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. The thick but stable layer of sediment where tectonic plates meet off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra should have limited the power of an earthquake, seismologists had predicted. But instead, this quake was the third-strongest on record worldwide.

5-12-17 Terrifying 20m-tall 'rogue waves' are actually real
Terrifying 20m-tall 'rogue waves' are actually real
For centuries sailors told stories of enormous waves tens of metres tall. They were dismissed as tall tales, but in fact they are alarmingly common. TEN-storey high, near-vertical walls of frothing water. Smashed portholes and flooded cabins on the upper decks. Thirty-metre behemoths that rise up from nowhere to throw ships about like corks, only to slip back beneath the depths moments later. Evocative descriptions of abnormally large "rogue waves" that appear out of the blue have been shared among sailors for centuries. With little or no hard evidence, and the size of the waves often growing with each telling, there is little surprise that scientists long dismissed them as tall tales. Until around half a century ago, this scepticism chimed with the scientific evidence. According to scientists' best understanding of how waves are generated, a 30m wave might be expected once every 30,000 years. Rogue waves could safely be classified alongside mermaids and sea monsters. However, we now know that they are no maritime myths.

12-14-16 'Smart boulders' record huge underwater avalanche
'Smart boulders' record huge underwater avalanche
A submersible feeds images back to the surface of a "smart boulder" on the seafloor. Scientists have had a remarkable close-up encounter with a gigantic underwater avalanche. It is the first time researchers have had instruments in place to monitor so large a flow of sediment as it careered down-slope. The event occurred in Monterey Canyon off the coast of California in January. The mass of sand and rock kept moving for more than 50km, as it slipped from a point less than 300m below the sea surface to a depth of over 1,800m. Speeds during the descent reached over 8m per second. An international team running the Coordinated Canyon Experiment (CCE) is now sitting on a wealth of data. "These flows, called turbidity currents, are some of the most powerful flows on Earth," said Dan Parsons, a professor of process sedimentology, at the University of Hull, UK. "Rivers are the only other mechanism that transports comparable volumes of sediment across the globe. However, although we have hundreds of thousands of measurements from rivers, we only have a small handful of measurements from turbidity currents – often for short periods of time and at only one position within a system."

12-14-16 Atlantic wave biggest ever recorded by buoy
Atlantic wave biggest ever recorded by buoy
The wave was captured not by man, but by a buoy. The highest-ever wave detected by a buoy has been recorded in the North Atlantic ocean. The 19-metre (62.3ft) wave happened between Iceland and the United Kingdom, off the Outer Hebrides, the World Meteorological Organization said. It was created in the aftermath of a very strong cold front with 43.8 knot (50.4mph) winds on 4 February 2013.

Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Mega Disasters: Mega Tsunami
for describing the mega tsunami disaster that wiped early
civilizations off the shores of the Mediterranean.