In the Caribbean the strongest possible tsunami

Many people think that if the old man can not remember the waves several meters high, and then it can be expected. But nature, it remembers, and she should trust.

Over three thousand years ago, a tsunami caused by a strong long-term environmental change in the Caribbean.

Scientists came to this conclusion by analyzing sediments from coastal lagoons of the island Bonaire, located about 80 km north of Venezuela. Caribbean are generally very sensitive to hurricanes, tsunamis, landslides and floods.

Lagoon islands Bonaire (photo Anja Scheffers).



500 years of recorded history on Bonaire has never been a tsunami, but the organic material in the sediments (animal remains, carbonate minerals) and other factors suggest that the huge wave struck the island 3? 3.3 thousand years ago. From the value of the stones, which changed its location, Max Engel of the University of Cologne (Germany) and his colleagues believe that the tsunami height reached 8? 9 m wave was at least 250 m inland. Lagoons and flooded the valley a mile or more, and is flat and low-lying southern end of the island could completely disappear under water.

Disaster, of course, changed the coastal ecosystem and the distribution of sediment. Shortly after the great wave of coral rubble barrier separated the bay, once framed mangroves, from the open sea, making it a very salty lagoon, which it remains to this day.

But whence came the tsunami? The most likely source of the researchers believe the earthquake on the southern border of the Caribbean plate, that is, on the coast of Venezuela. In the historical records preserved mention of the tsunami of 1530, which was caused by a push near the Venezuelan city of Cumana.

You can not discount the probability of an earthquake in the north-eastern border of the same plate. For example, in 1867, a push in the strait in the east of Anegada British Virgin Islands resulted in a tsunami that swept across the Caribbean.

Another reason could be an active submarine volcanoes in the southern Antilles, although the tsunami generated by these processes are usually local.

It is possible that it was "teletsunami" that appeared on the other side of the Atlantic. According to Mr. Engel, computer models show that the collapse in the sea slope of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Islands can cause a wave that will reach a height of a few meters, even when cross the Atlantic Ocean and close to the Caribbean and the southern shores of the North America.

In short, contrary to popular belief, the tsunami on Bonaire possible. Probably the same situation with other islands. It's time to take action.

The study is published in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

Prepared according to Our Amazing Planet.

Category: Weather

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