FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Caribbean at Risk for Major Tsunami, Say Scientists

The devastating tsunami that struck southern Asia last December moved that phenomenon to the top of scientists' research lists. Now, three researchers studying historical data say that the northern Caribbean might be the next tsunami "ground zero."

Nancy Grindlay and Meghan Hearne of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Paul Mann of the University of Texas at Austin believe that the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates -- near the Greater and Lesser Antilles islands and the US Gulf Coast -- is volatile enough to produce a major tsunami. They base this belief on the geological history of the region, which includes 10 devastating tsunamis since 1492. Studies of underwater landslides show that even more powerful tsunamis occurred before 1492.

The most recent tsunami to strike the region was triggered by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Dominican Republic in 1946, and killed about 1,800 people.

Source: Eurekalert