Mediterranean Tsunamis!

That’s right, scientists have discovered that these massive waves caused by seismic activity have occurred in the small, and well contained, sea. How do they know if a giant wave came through that area you ask? Well, it’s because they have really good drills. They are able to drill down at the bottom of the sea and take cylindrical sample similar to ice core samples that we talked about in class. These core samples allow researchers to look at the time-line of the sea floor and the activity that has occurred there for hundreds and hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of years. The study was done in the port of Caesarea by the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa.

The process involved advanced scuba diving and drilling, but they revealed something that was really interesting. The scientists found that, though less frequent, the tsunamis that occur in the Mediterranean happen on a semi-frequent basis. According to the samples, there have been four major tsunami events in the sea in the past thirty five hundred years.  Unlike most tsunamis, which are caused by earthquakes underwater that displace a large portion of water, causing a wave, the tsunamis that occur here in the Mediterranean Sea have a wide variety of triggers events. They can be cause by volcano eruptions, landslides, and the usual earthquake threat. The Mediterranean region, being surprisingly active seismically, has a lot of threat of tsunami based on pieces of  earth that could become dislodged and slid into the ocean during and eruption. Similarly, landslides can be caused by earthquakes that cause the land to go into the water.  The article tells of several volcano eruptions that caused tsunamis up to five meters high that went up to two kilometers inland.

Geological drilling occurred in areas of 1-3 meters in length and at several different depths. They enabled Dr. Goodman, the lead scientist, to date the underwater layers using two  effective methods that we have discussed in class: carbon-14 dating and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence). She found proof that four tsunami events had occured at Caesarea. One occured in 1500 BC, one in 100-200 CE,one in 500-600 CE, and one 1100-1200 CE.

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3 Responses to Mediterranean Tsunamis!

  1. amelianavarro says:

    I never knew how scientists studied and predicted tsumanis! This was very interesting.

  2. mattgwilt says:

    This is really interesting. I wonder what type of dangers could be coming in the future for those bordering the Meditteranean.

  3. amalderm says:

    i just watched 2012 the other day and they have some pretty massive tsunamis in that movie. Although a little unrealistic, they had an 8.5 underwater earthquake cause a 1500 ft tsunami….. yeah right

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