Scotland’s towns and cities would be devastated if the country’s coastline were hit by a tsunami like the one that occurred 8,200 years ago, according to an academic study.
While some 370 miles of Scotland’s north and east coast were affected when the Storegga tsunami struck, the study suggests that a modern disaster of the same magnitude would have worse consequences.
Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, St Andrews and York attributed this to denser human populations and higher sea levels that could destroy the coastal and port areas of Arbroath, Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick, all of which have built-up areas. important. less than 10 meters above sea level and directly in front of the sea.
The study mapping the impact of the ancient tsunami for the first time used models to estimate how far the wave would have traveled inland. Estimates suggest that the water could have invaded up to 18 miles inland. That distance today would likely leave a city like Montrose, which overlooks a tidal pool and has a population of 12,000, completely devastated.
The Storegga Tsunami, considered the largest natural disaster to have occurred in the United Kingdom in the last 11,000 years, was caused by underwater landslides in the Norwegian Sea. The displaced water is believed to have flooded Doggerland, a land bridge linking Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands across what is now the southern North Sea. The tsunami would have had a catastrophic impact on the Mesolithic populations of the time.
Luminescence dating, which measures the energy emitted after an object has been exposed to daylight, was used in the research to assess sediments and deposits from the tsunami.
By dating the sediment deposits at Maryton, Aberdeenshire, the researchers were able to determine the date, number and relative power of the waves. Similar deposits have been studied along the east and north coast of Scotland, from around Berwick-upon-Tweed to Loch Eriboll, in Sutherland, as well as along the Norwegian coast north of Bergan, and across Shetland and the Faroe Islands.
Mark Bateman, professor of geography at the University of Sheffield and lead author of the report, said: “Although the Storegga tsunami has been known for years, this is the first time that we have been able to model how far inland off the coast of Scotland occurred the wave tsunami traveled, analyzing the soil deposits left by the wave more than 8,000 years ago. Although there is no similar threat from [the direction of] Norway today, the UK could still be at risk of flooding from potential volcanic eruptions around the world, such as those predicted in the Canary Islands.
“These [eruptions] It would cause a similar resulting tsunami wave due to the amount of material that would be displaced by the volcano. These models provide us with a unique window to the past to see how the country was and could be affected again ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism