Skip to comments.Giant Wave Hit Ancient Scotland
Posted on 09/07/2001 5:34:41 PM PDT by blam
Friday, 7 September, 2001, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Giant wave hit ancient Scotland
By BBC News Online's Helen Briggs
A giant wave flooded Scotland about 7,000 years ago, a
scientist revealed on Friday.
The tsunami left a trail of destruction along what is now the eastern coast of the country.
It looks as if those people were happily sitting in their camp when this wave from the sea hit the camp
Professor David Smith, Coventry University Scientists believe a landslide on the ocean floor off Storegga, south-west Norway, triggered the wave.
Speaking at the British Association Festival of Science in Glasgow, Professor David Smith said a tsunami could strike again in the area but the probability was extremely unlikely.
Radiocarbon dating of sediments taken from the coastline of eastern Scotland put the date of the event at about 5,800 BC.
At the time, Britain was joined to mainland Europe by a land bridge.
Settlers at the time would have had little warning of the disaster, scientists believe. But a scattering of tools found in the sand at a hunting camp in Inverness yields some clues.
"It looks as if those people were happily sitting in their camp when this wave from the sea hit the camp," Professor Smith of the department of Geography at Coventry University told BBC News Online.
"We're talking about two, three or four large waves followed by little ones, that would have been 5-10 metres high.
"These waves do strike with such force that they are very destructive," he added. "It's like being hit by an express train."
The research provides an opportunity to assess the hazard of tsunamis in more detail.
They occur frequently in the Pacific Ocean due to underwater earthquakes, landslides and volcanic explosions.
Long, uncertain history
Scientists hope to find more evidence of similar past tsunamis in eastern Scotland to predict the frequency of the destructive waves.
Studies of coastal sediments show that it may be possible to develop a record of past tsunamis extending back several millennia.
Dr Ted Nield, of the Geological Society of London, said: "These events have a long and uncertain time scale.
"While there is no reason for mass panic, the possibility exists that the Storegga slide will go again, and it would be imprudent to ignore that fact."
The giant waves which periodically wreak havoc on coastal communities around the Pacific are commonly called tidal waves.
In fact they have little to do with tides and are more properly called tsunami - a Japanese term meaning harbour wave.
They are caused by seismic shocks under the ocean.
Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or landslides on the sea bed can produce a type of wave which travels thousands of kilometres at high speed, and causes massive destruction when it reaches shore.
Tsunami differ from ordinary, wind-generated waves in that they can be almost imperceptible out on the open ocean, with typical heights of less than one metre. Most occur in the Pacific.
When a massive tsunami hit Japan at the end of last century, killing thousands, fishermen 20 miles out at sea failed to even notice the wave as it passed underneath their boats at a height of less than half a metre.
Tsunami typically have distances of several hundred kilometres and intervals of up to an hour between waves, unlike normal, wind-driven waves which are usually separated by intervals of seconds.
These characteristics mean tsunami travel at speeds of hundreds of kilometres per hour - as fast as a jet airliner.
As they approach shallower water near the coast, they are slowed down, which causes them to move closer together and to rise in height.
They can reach heights of 200 feet (61 metres) when they arrive on shore, with speeds of 150 miles per hour (241 kph), producing huge destructive force. Warnings
Tsunami waves are difficult to detect, and warnings have often proved unreliable.
One early signal is the detection of any earthquake on the ocean floor over magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale.
The first sign for people on the coast of an incoming tsunami is often a sudden outrush of water, exposing the sea bed offshore and leaving boats stranded.
This is followed after a few minutes by a series of huge waves which rush inland, the largest of which is usually between the third and the eighth to arrive.
Because of the speed at which the waves travel, it can be assumed that anyone on the shore who sees one approaching is unlikely to survive to tell the tale.
One more reason not to go camping.
The theory I like best on that is earthquake that caused the Mediterranean Sea to suddenly burst through into the Black Sea, flooding the then "civilized" world where cities existed.
It was about the same time period.
No. I think the source of "Noah's flood tale" is called the Bible.
When I was in Hawaii, a tour guide told us they could move up to 500 mph, and sometimes only a few feet high, but at that speed could do a lot of damage. Now I wonder if he was correct.
Could this be the source of the Noah's flood tale?
Yes!!! It was a recounting of a dream Noah had after drinking too much mead.
And the source of the Bible flood story is the Sumerian Gilgamesh story.
No doubt about it, sometimes life just stinks out loud.
Your tour guide was probably referring to their speed and amplitude in the open ocean. Tsunamis slow down and increase their amplitude as they begin to make contact with the bottom upon approaching the shore.
Both were correct.
Discovered in Nineveh, the Gilgamesh Epic (700 B.C.) was recorded on clay tablets and translated by George Smith in 1872.
Mr. Smith is quoted as saying, "I am the first man to read this text after two thousand years of oblivion."
The discovery of the tablets and the translation of the Gilgamesh Epic rocked the world.
Now, "scholars" believed that the Bible story of Noah and the Ark was inspired by the Gilgamesh Epic.
Some of the thousands of tablets discovered, narrate the flood account from the perspective of ancient Babylonians.
Notice a few items from the following section of the Gilgamesh Epic: 1) A fourteen day downpour (as opposed to forty), 2) The theme of multiple gods (as opposed to one), 3) A raven (as opposed to a dove) and 4) Mount Nisir (as opposed to Mount Ararat which is 350 miles away from Mount Nisir). This quote is taken from the book, The Search for Noah's Ark, by Charles Berlitz.
"I caused to embark within the vessel all my family and my relations, The beasts of the field, the cattle of the field, the craftsmen, I made them all embark. I entered the vessel and closed the door ... From the foundations of heaven a black cloud arose ... All that is bright turned into darkness ... The gods feared the flood, They fled, they climbed into heaven of Anu, The gods crouched like a dog on a wall, they lay down ... For six days and nights Wind and flood marched on, the hurricane subdued the land. When the seventh day dawned, the hurricane was abated, the flood Which had waged war like an army; The sea was stilled, the ill wind was calmed, the flood ceased. I beheld the sea, its voice was silent, And all mankind was turned into mud! As high as the roofs reached the swamp! ... I beheld the world, the horizon of sea; Twelve measures away an island emerged; Unto Mount Nisir came the vessel, Mount Nisir held the vessel and let it not budge ... When the seventh day came, I sent forth a dove, I released it; It went, the dove, it came back, As there was no place, it came back. I sent forth a swallow, it came back, As there was no place, it came back. I sent forth a raven, I released it; It went, the raven, and beheld the subsidence of the waters; It eats, it splashes about, it caws, it comes not back."
These sections are taken from L. Patricia Kite's book, Noah's Ark, in which she describes these three American Indian stories about a massive flood.
Cherokee Indians "In the tribal tales of the Cherokee Indians of the southeastern United States, the coming of a flood was told by a dog to his master. 'You must build a boat,' the dog said, 'and put in it all that you would save; for a great rain is coming that will flood the land.' "
Tlingit Indians "The Tlingit tribe of northwestern Alaska told of a great flood which, driven by wind, covered all dwelling places. The Tlingits saved themselves by tying several boats together to make a great raft. They floated on this, huddling together for warmth under a tenet until Anodjium, a magician, ordered the sea to be clam and the flood to recede.'
Acagchememe Indians From his book, Chinigchinich, Friar Geronimo Boscana wrote, "The Acagchememe Indians, near San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, were not entirely destitute of a knowledge of the universal Deluge, but how, or from whence, they received the same, I could never understand. Some of their songs refer to it; and they have a tradition that , a time very remote, the sea began to swell and roll in upon the plains, and fill the valleys, until it had covered the mountains; and thus nearly all the human race and animals were destroyed, except a few, who had resorted to a very high mountain which the waters did not reach."
I call on the U.N. to hold a special conference to get reparations and an apology from the Naturic Union, a body which most likely never existed during this period of Tsunomic Terror and which most likely does not exist now but still should be held to the highest accountability.
For the guppies!
well.... they have little to do with harbours either....
If twenty people come running into the room you're in right now, and one after another tells of a terrible accident that just happened across town, would it be reasonable to assume 1. There must not have been any real accident. 2. All accounts are mere copies of the original account given by the first person in the room?
If so, you must be a "scholar".
It's possible this contributed. It is certainly old enough, but the effect itself wouldn't have reached the Mediterranean. Who's to say how the story would have spread, they might have put this together with the [possible] flooding of the Black Sea and various other disasters and said --look, this seems to have been widespread, it probably covered the entire planet. The Internet hadn't been invented yet by Algore, so they had to rely on traveling merchants and minnesingers for their news: a little harder to piece things together that way.
A tsunami would've crushed the ark, plus tsunamis don't last for months.
Probably the reason they call it a harbor flood is because a tsunami is unnoticable until it reaches near shore and then begins to raise the water level due to the raising ocean floor relative to the focal point of the tsunami as an earlier poster said. This would be especially noticable in a harbor.
Since this Tsunami was ca 5,800 BC and about 10,000 BC Scotland was under 1,000 meters of ice there isn't much of a window for study.
Although, for a given location on the Earth's surface, the risk of a "direct" hit from an asteroid is slight, researchers realized that an ocean impact had the potential to be much more destructive due to the effects of tsunami. An airburst explosion is a three dimensional event and energy decreases according to the square of the distance but a radiating ocean wave is a two-dimensional phenomenon and, in theory, energy decreases in proportion to distance. Since the early 1990s some advanced computer simulations have been conducted to estimate the effects of asteroid impacts above deep oceans.
The dramatic picture by Don Davis is a little misleading. When an asteroid hits the ocean at 70 000km/h there is a gigantic explosion. The asteroid and water vaporize and leave a huge crater - typically 20 times the diameter of the asteroid (that is, a 100m asteroid will create a 2 kilometre diameter crater). The water rushes back in, overshoots to create a mountain of water at the middle and this spreads out as a massive wave - a tsunami. The centre of the "crater" oscillates up and down several times and a series of waves radiate out. An idea of the mechanism can be obtained by bursting a balloon in a bathtub.
More likely, they are independent recordings of a story passed down orally through the generations of the same actual event.
Author/s: Kathryn Brown
Issue: June 10, 2000
Surprised tourists could catch the ultimate wave
Postcards from Lake Tahoe all flaunt a peaceful, brilliant-blue stretch of mountain water. But geologists have been snapping a very different picture of the lake lately. Far beneath Lake Tahoe's gentle surface, they say, several hidden earthquake faults snake across the lake's flat bottom. These faults put the lake at a bizarre risk for an inland body of water.
If the researchers are right, Lake Tahoe tourists could one day feel the ground tremble and, just minutes later, face a tsunami. Roiling waves of water would crest to 10 meters at the shore and criss-cross the lake for hours.
Tsunamis typically emerge in oceans, usually after a quake drops or lifts part of the seafloor. Undersea landslides--alone or following a quake--can also trigger these giant waves. In 1998, for instance, a tsunami devastated Papua New Guinea, sweeping away more than 2,000 people living on the country's northern coast (SN: 8/1/98, p. 69). And in the past decade, tsunamis have lashed the coasts of Japan, Nicaragua, and Indonesia, as well. But Lake Tahoe?
While it may seem improbable, Lake Tahoe holds just the right blend of ingredients to brew a tsunami. For one thing, it has plenty of water. As the world's 10th-largest lake, Lake Tahoe stretches 35 kilometers long, 19 km wide, and, in some spots, 500 m deep. What's more, the lake sits smack in the middle of earthquake country, nestled in a fault-riddled basin that straddles California and Nevada. Dozens of minor or moderate quakes erupt along faults in the region every week, and the Lake Tahoe area is no exception. All it would take, scientists say, is a strong quake directly beneath the lake to send the waters spewing, tsunami-style.
To get a better grip on Lake Tahoe's tsunami potential, University of Nevada, Reno geologists have been modeling different quake scenarios. According to their calculations, if a magnitude 7 quake struck either of two major faults under the lake, the bottom could open like a trapdoor, with a chunk of it suddenly dropping as much as 4 m. Just behind it would fall a huge, sinking slosh of water--generating a giant wave that would reach the surface, gather strength, and come barreling to shore as a tsunami.
And that's just the beginning. The scientists think the tsunami, in turn, would create so-called seiche waves, mountainous waves that lurch from shore to shore for hours on end. "Think of the lake like a pan full of water. When you knock one end way down, the water surges and then sloshes back and forth for some time," says Gene A. Ichinose, a geophysics graduate student at Nevada-Reno and lead author of the group's study, which appeared in the April 15 GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. As in a jostled pan of water, some waves would likely splash past their usual borders--right into the homes and hotels that dot the Lake Tahoe shoreline.
As Ichinose puts it, "If you feel the earth shaking for 5 or 10 seconds, get to high ground."
The forewarning part ("Ding! Noah! I want you to build an ark.") is wide-open for discussion.
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