01:11 GMT20 January 2021
Listen Live
    Tech
    Get short URL
    by
    2243
    Subscribe

    Noting that he didn't realise the Mediterranean Sea could produce such a massive wave, one researcher warned that history may repeat itself.

    Archaeologists and geologists from the University of California San Diego and the University of Haifa have found apparent evidence of a massive cataclysm that occurred on "what is today Israel’s northern shore" thousands of years ago, Haaretz reports.

    According to the newspaper, the research team made this discovery while studying geological history in the vicinity of Tel Dor, an ancient seaside settlement south of Haifa.

    While extracting and examining sediment cores predating Tel Dor – which was founded around 2,000 BC – the team discovered a 20-30 cm-thick layer "consisting of sand and fragments of seashells," sandwiched between "long sequence of dark sediments."

    "This is strange because we are not supposed to find sand trapped inside clay like that," said Gilad Shtienberg, a geoarchaeologist from UC San Diego and lead author of the study. "So I was like, wow, this is something."

    With other sediment cores extracted along the Tel Dor beach displaying a similar layer, "dated to between 9,900 and 9,300 years ago," and with researchers estimating that the seashore "would have been between 1.5 and 3.5 km away" at that time, the team concluded that these "marine materials" were transported there by a tsunami.

    While the exact scope of this calamity remains unclear, Prof. Thomas E. Levy, who co-directs the marine archaeology centre at UC San Diego, argued that it "must have had devastating effects," likely explaining "why Israel’s northern coastal plain displays a 'settlement gap' of about 4,000 years right around this time."

    With the Tel Dor tsunami apparently being the oldest such event documented in the Mediterranean so far, the researchers also note that "no less than 23 tsunami deposits from the past 6,000 years have been detected along the Eastern Mediterranean coasts," with Shtienberg remarking that he did not think the Mediterranean Sea could produce such a massive wave.

    "Imagine if something similar occurred today on the coast of Israel: we have to be prepared because it could definitely happen again," he said.
    Tags:
    evidence, geology, tsunami, coast, Mediterranean Sea
    Community standardsDiscussion