There were tsunamis on the Mediterranean coast, they could return and be catastrophic

There were tsunamis on the Mediterranean coast, they could return and be catastrophic

2023-06-01 12:22:47

A research team with Spanish participation has confirmed that the Mediterranean coast of our country has also suffered catastrophic tsunamis, which could be repeated today. The study has been published in the journal Journal of Iberian Geology.

From some deposits found at Cabo Cope, Murciathe researchers recorded an event, dated approximately between 800 to 1,400 yearswhich caused large accumulations of blocks in this region of the Murcian coast.

“We applied the methodology that we had developed to see if (these rock accumulations) could be due to large storms or tsunamis, since the Murcia area can have tectonic activity from earthquakes,” he explains. javier lario, professor of External Geodynamics at the Faculty of Sciences of the UNED and first author of the study. “And we have seen that they could be the result of a tsunami.”

Although the waves of a huge storm they may be greater than those of a tsunami, they would not have the capacity to drag these blocks four meters above sea level, which reach 17.7 tons. The authors of the work mainly try to distinguish these two types of phenomena.

The waves of a tsunami can carry about 18 tons of water above sea level.

“It is interesting to differentiate it because with the climate change is seeing that there will be an increase in major storms, and even hurricanes”, says Lario.

In the presentation of the work, which also sign Chris Spencer (University of the West of England, UK) and Teresa Bardají (University of Alcalá de Henares), cities such as Huelva and Cádiz are mentioned, since they have begun to create evacuation plans.

The first author points out that it would be necessary to implement this type of plans in the coastal areas of the southern mediterranean to educate the population and raise awareness.

“We are talking about 70% of the population living on the coasts. If it affects in summer, the floating population of coastal areas is much higher than in winter. Clearly, a tsunami now would have a very big impact”, comments Lario.

Where sand or shoreline has been lost and water can penetrate further inland, the effect of a tsunami could be worse.

Javier Lario, first author of the study

Erosion by human action could make tsunamis much more serious on the Mediterranean coast

Likewise, the erosion and degradation of the coast by human action could greatly affect the severity of a possible tsunami. “The processes of rising sea level or erosive processes of the beach and the natural protection that the coasts have make them more vulnerable in the event of a tsunami. If we have lost sand or a coastal area and the water can penetrate further inland, when a tsunami comes, the effect will be worse”, warns the geologist.

Thanks to these records, it is possible to establish recurrence periods that allow alert authorities of possible phenomena, like the historic Lisbon tsunami, which devastated the Andalusian coast in 1755 and left more than 1,000 dead in its wake.

From the Ministry of the Interior, together with the National Geographic Institute and the General Directorate of Civil Protection, they have developed a State Tsunami Plan, in which they identify the risks of tsunami flooding that could occur in the national territory.

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