Lanai Tsunami DepositThis is the deposit left by a giant tsunami as it washed up the south coast of Lana'i. The deposit consists of beach boulders plus coral fragments and sand, and extends to about 100 meters above sea level. Here it is about 4 meters thick.
by Volcano WorldThe Hilina Slump a.k.a. "The Big Crack"A 4,760 cubic mile chunk of the Big Island (Hawaii) is breaking away at the rate of 4 inches per year. This is the Hilina Slump, and it is said to be "the most rapidly moving tract of ground on Earth for its size." The Hilina Slump can move much faster. At 4:48 AM, November 29, 1975, a 37-mile-wide section suddenly dropped 11* feet and slid seaward 26 feet. The result was a magnitude-7.2 quake and a 48-foot-high tsunami. This was a minor of the slump. If the entire 4,760-cubic-mile block decided to break off, it would probably create a magnitude-9 quake and a tsunami 1,000-feet high. All the coast-hugging cities of the Hawaiian Islands would be swept away. And LOOK OUT Australia, Japan, and California.
by Wiliam CorlissThe drowning waveAny day now, a gargantuan wave could sweep westwards across the Atlantic towards the coast of North America. A mighty wall of water 50 metres high would hit the Caribbean islands, Florida and the rest of the eastern seaboard, surging up to 20 kilometres inland and engulfing everything in its path. If you thought the tsunamis that periodically terrorise the Pacific Ocean were big, consider this: the Atlantic wave will be five times bigger. It will start its journey 6000 kilometres away, when half an island crashes into the sea.
by Tristan MarshallLandslideEveryone realised that dropping something the size of New York City into the ocean would kick up a big wave, but it was only when Moore returned to Hawaii to explore the island of Lanai that he realised just how big. On the south side of the island, limestone boulders were scattered, some as much as 100 metres above sea level. Since the island itself is made of volcanic rock, the limestone could only have come from coral reefs beneath the sea surface. Moore also found fields of coral and seashells as high as 120 metres. The piece of mountain that is shifting is much larger than the slide that soaked Lanai. It's more on the scale of the "Nuuanu" collapse that spun the New York-sized chunk of rock off Oahu more than 1 million years ago, says Julia Morgan, a geologist at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus on Oahu, who has been watching the mountain closely.
by Jonathan Knight
7 August 1999Mt Pinatubo's brimming lake threatens thousandsThis year has been particularly wet, and since the rainy season began in June the water level has been rising by up to a metre each week. The last time Rodolfo and Alonso flew over the lake in a military helicopter, they estimated that the water was only four metres from the lowest point of the crater wall, a V-shaped cleft called the Maraunot notch. Rodolfo and Alonso estimate that if the notch eroded down 10 metres, 30 million cubic metres of water would spill out. The water would probably mix with loose volcanic sediment on the way, hugely increasing its volume and creating a cement-like mixture knows as a "lahar". Rodolfo has seen fast-flowing lahars in action before. "It is a horrendous sight - horrifying and exceedingly beautiful." Engineering solutions to the threat include reinforcing the notch, or boring a tunnel into the crater to drain the lake. But the government says it is too late for such action now the rainy season has started. Rodolfo and Alonso believe this complacency could be disastrous and are now working with Oxfam to reach local agencies and people directly.
by Joanna Marchant
25 July 01Asteroids and TsunamisTsunami can travel at around 400 mph in deep water. When they reach shallow water they slow down, and that's when the real danger begins. The front of the wave slows first and the effect is like a pile-up on a freeway, with the rear of the wave catching up to the front. The wave increases in height from this bunching effect. The final height of the wave depends on several factors, but the shape of the sea floor has the greatest impact.
by Michael Paine
5 November 1999Out ThereIn the spring of 1986, I published my explanation of the black spots in a scientific journal: The Earth's atmosphere was being bombarded by house-sized, water-bearing objects traveling at 25,000 mph, one every three seconds or so. That's 20 a minute, 1,200 an hour, 28,800 a day, 864,000 a month and more than 10 million a year. These objects, which I call "small comets," disintegrate high above the Earth and deposit huge clouds of water vapor into the upper atmosphere. Over the history of this planet, the small comets may have dumped enough water to fill the oceans and may have even provided the organic ingredients necessary for life on Earth.
by Louis A. Frank
and Patrick Huyghe
Scientists reacted to my announcement as if I had plowed through the sacred field of established science with a bulldozer. I had. If the small comets were real, one scientist commented, textbooks in a dozen sciences would have to be rewritten... I spent more than a year answering the objections of critics. But I didn't convince them. It was 10,000 to 1 -- actually 2, myself and John Sigwarth, whose task as my graduate student assistant had been to help me resolve this black-spot mystery. "We have taken a representative poll of current opinion in this field," an editor at Nature wrote in rejecting a small-comet paper we submitted to them in 1988, "and the verdict goes against you." It was my first encounter with taking polls as a way of doing science.
The Big Splash:
A Scientific Discovery
the Way We View the Origin of Life,
the Water We Drink,
the Death of the Dinosaurs,
the Creation of the Oceans,
the Nature of the Cosmos,
and the Very Future
of the Earth Itself
by Louis A. Frank
and Patrick Huyghe
Now that looks like some good stuff.