HomeEarthDiscovery of ancient underwater landslide could help Middle Eastern nations realize tsunami...

Discovery of ancient underwater landslide could help Middle Eastern nations realize tsunami hazards

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science earth scientists have discovered evidence of an ancient underwater landslide. It is associated with tsunami in the Gulf of Aqaba which is a subsidiary of the Red Sea. It should serve as a warning for many nations in the Middle East.

Professor and chair of the Department of Marine Geosciences, Sam Purkis, have spent four weeks aboard the OceanXplorer research vessel in the region. He ascended from 3,000 feet during a submersible dive. He noticed a startling break in the seabed. It was an unexpected find. But it was not out of the question for the Red Sea. This was formed by the separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates 30 million years ago.

Purkis then began a scientific journey to learn more about the chasm. He took rock samples. It revealed that it had been created by a landslide. It has likely occurred 500 years ago. He found evidence from sediment collected north of the chasm. It showed that a tsunami was likely spawned by the landslide.

The study is named “Tsunamigenic Potential of an Incipient Submarine Landslide in the Tiran Straits”. It has been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union. The study predicts that future movement of the seabed might trigger more tsunami in the Gulf. So, the nations along its coasts like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel need to ensure that early warning systems are in place for both earthquakes and tsunami. The OceanXplorer research voyage was funded by Neom. It is a company developing the Saudi Arabian coastline.


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