tsunami – giant tidal waves

The Morien Institute - skywatching through the ages

an image of a meteor flashing through the sky

Image of a revolving globe showing current sea levels since the last ice age, before which many ancient societies like Atlantis flourished all over planet Earth on what are now sunken lands.

text translation service for 25 worldwide languages


The links below are to pages that will give you more information on Tsunami – the giant tidal waves that are caused by landslides, earthquakes under the sea, and the impacts of asteroids, comets and meteorites in the oceans. Their incredible destructive power has been responsible for the sweeping away of many coastal towns, villages, and inundating huge landmasses throughout history and prehistory.

Following Tsunami there is often very little left for future arch?ologists to discover, and it is highly probable that much of the evidence of civilisation near coastal areas in prehistoric times has simply been wiped away by these incredible forces of nature. One recent study has discovered that, according to radiocarbon dating of sediments from the area, a giant Tsunami hit the eastern coast of Scotland in 5,800 BC. Stone tools found in the sand off Inverness showed that the waves hit the area without warning following a landslide off Storegga in north-west Norway.

Professor Smith of the Department of Geography at Coventry University told

BBC News Online that:

“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. It’s like being hit by an express train.”

A study of the danger to coastal settlements in Australia is available at:

The Tsunami Papers which are also reviewed at: Review of Tsunami Papers. Other interesting links for more information about tsunami are below:


Science of Tsunami Hazards

Simulation of Impact Tsunami

Washington University – Tsunami

NASA Tsunami Site

Tsunami Society

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administation Tsunami page

Spaceguard Australia – ‘tsunami from asteroid impact’


“Killer Waves: Scientists are learning how to predict tsunami risk”

That was the headline at

Science News

on March 06th 2004. The story told that:

“Last Nov. 16, at 8:43 p.m., a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck deep beneath the ocean near Alaska’s Little Sitkin Island, far out in the Aleutian Islands. Within 25 minutes, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists issued a tsunami warning for U.S. Pacific coastal areas.

“Forty minutes later, a pressure sensor on the seafloor hundreds of kilometers south of Alaska detected the tsunami’s vanguard pulses. Data from that instrument—one of six in a network activated just the previous month—indicated that the wave was only 2 centimeters tall there. Simulations previously run on computers suggested that such a wave wouldn’t be a danger to Hawaii or other distant shores, and NOAA canceled its tsunami warning less than 90 minutes after the quake occurred.

A few hours later, the tsunami swept into the harbor in Hilo, Hawaii, and raised water levels there about 21 cm, just 2 cm higher than predicted by the simulations … ”

[full story]


“Pacific nation of Tuvalu preparing to disappear beneath tides this week”

That was the headline at TerraDaily on February 16th 2004. The story told that:

“Weather authorities in Tuvalu warned Monday their small South Pacific nation is likely to be inundated by unusual tides later this week.

“Tuvalu, home to 11,500 people living on nine scattered atolls all less than 4.5 metres (15 feet) above sea level, will be hit Thursday and Friday by “king tides” associated with the new moon, Hilia Vavae of the Tuvalu Meteorological Office told AFP.”

[full story]


“Tsunami hits Namlea after tectonic quake”

That was the headline at Japanese website, Antara on January 30th 2004. The story told that:

“A tsunami (tidal wave) reportedly attacked Namlea, capital of Buru district, after a tectonic quake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale rocked Pulau Kelang in Central Maluku district, at 07:15 hours local time on Thursday morning.

“Some residents in Namlea contacted by Antara by phone on Thursday afternoon said the tidal wave came all of a sudden but it caused no damage to the people`s homes in the coastal area.”

[full story]


“Niue ‘flattened’ by tsunami-type waves”

That was the headline at New Zealand website, Stuff on January 9th 2004. The story told that:

“Villagers on Niue were still shaking their heads in disbelief as they picked through the rubble two days after cyclone Heta tore past their island homes.

“Villagers talked of tsunami-type waves sweeping up 30 metre cliffs, chasing them out of their houses and into the bush, and they grieved at the loss of their museum with its artifacts – their taonga – and their trust in the beautiful but treacherous sea below.

[full story]


“1700 Japan Tsunami Linked To Massive North American Quake”

That was the headline at Science Daily on November 21st 2003. The story told that:

“Guided by Japanese writings from an era of shoguns, an international team of scientists today reported new evidence that an earthquake of magnitude 9 struck the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada three

centuries ago. Their findings are likely to affect the region’s precautions against future earthquakes and tsunamis.

Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, published by the American Geophysical Union, scientists from Japan, Canada and the United States summarize old reports of flooding and damage by a tsunami in 1700 on the Pacific coast of Japan. With the aid of computer simulations, they conclude that this tsunami must have been generated by a North American earthquake of close to magnitude 9. Such an earthquake would, in a few minutes, release about as much energy as the United States now consumes in a month.

The earthquake apparently ruptured the full length of an enormous fault, known as the Cascadia subduction zone, which extends more than 1,000 kilometers [600 miles] along the Pacific coast from southern British Columbia to

northern California. Until the early 1980s, this fault was thought benign by most scientists, said Atwater. But then a swift series of discoveries in North America showed that the fault produces earthquakes of magnitude 8 or larger at irregular intervals, averaging about 500 years. The most recent of the earthquakes, dated by radiocarbon methods, occurred between 1680 and 1720.

These discoveries raised a further question: Can the fault produce earthquakes of magnitude 9? Such a giant earthquake would produce low-frequency shaking, lasting minutes, that might now threaten tall buildings from Vancouver, British Columbia, to northern California. A giant Cascadia earthquake would also warp large areas of seafloor, thereby setting off a train of ocean waves – a tsunami – that could prove destructive even on the far side of the Pacific Ocean.

An animation, prepared by Kenji Satake, which shows hourly snapshots of the simulated tsunami moving across the Pacific Ocean for a full day, may be viewed here. Those with dial-up access please be patient as the animation is worth the download wait

[full story]


“Scientists Eye Asteroid Tsunami Risk”

That was the headline at Discovery

Channel News on June 2 2003. The story told that:

“A new computer model of the potential asteroid impact shows tsunamis on the Atlantic coast of North America reaching 400 feet in height as they rise out of the ocean near shore and break over coastal towns and cities. All from an asteroid that’s only two-thirds of a mile across (one kilometer) — one-tenth the diameter of the dinosaur killer asteroid of 65 million years ago.”

[full story]


“New Wave Supercompters Catch Big Wave”

That was the headline at SpaceDaily.com

on June 5 2002. The story told how most tsunami are mostly caused by earthquakes, but that scientists now believe that significantly more than previously thought are caused by ocean impacts of asteroids and cometary debris. New Supercomputers are helping to understand the dynamics of these tsunami:

an image/link direct to the SpaceDaily.com story

Copyright 2002 SpaceDaily.com

“The new wave in computing – super-fast machines churning out three-dimensional models viewable in high-tech, immersive theaters – may teach us more about the big waves that sometimes threaten people who live near the seashore.

Although earthquakes cause most of these giant waves, called tsunamis, researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos National Laboratory recently completed the largest and most accurate simulation of tsunamis caused by asteroids.”

[full story]


some books about Tsunami are listed below

“Tsunami: The Underrated Hazard”

by Edward Bryant

“In the past decade, more than ten major tsunami events have caused devastation and loss of life along the world’s coastlines and evidence of past great tsunami, or “mega-tsunami”, has recently been discovered along apparently aseismic and protected coastlines. With a large proportion of the world’s population living on the coastline, the threat from tsunami cannot be ignored.

Edward Bryant is known internationally for his research on catastrophic tsunami, being one of the first researchers to identify a wide spectrum of signatures of such events in the coastal landscape. In Tsunami, he describes the nature and process of tsunami, outlines field evidence for detecting the presence of past events, and describes particular events linked to earthquakes, volcanoes, submarine landslides, and meteorite impacts. Accessible to novices, Tsunami will also appeal to astronomers, planners and researchers in landscape and coastal evolution”

UK edition


“Tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea, 2000 B.C.-2000 A.D”


Sergei Leonidovich Solovev (Editor), Olga N. Solovieva, Chan N. Go, Khen S. Kim, Nikolay A. Shchetnikov, Sergey L. Soloviev

“The founder and recognized leader of the Russian scientific school of tsunami researchers Sergey (1930-94) and his collaborators describe in detail the waves generated by earthquakes and accompanying phenomena in a region prone to earthquakes and where the written record allows a study of four millennia. Most of the material is quantitative information, including coordinates of the observation sites, dates, heights of tsunami run-ups, main parameters of the earthquakes, and tide gauge records. That is augmented by the electronic database created in the Tsumani Laboratory, Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics in Novosibirsk. Only geographical names are indexed.

This volume contains descriptions of about 300 tsunami and of similar known phenomena in the Mediterranean Sea. Earthquakes and other processes generating tsunami are also described. The intensity of tsunami waves is estimated, and the causes of tsunami generation are given together with the reliability of the information. The literary data are given on coordinates and magnitudes of tsunamigenic earthquakes. 18 zones of tsunami generation are identified, which have been subdivided into four groups according to the maximum intensity and periodicity.”

UK edition


please take a look at our Ancient Mysteries Bookshoppe for a wide selection of books

that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on every continent


home |

research projects |

skywatching |

news & new discoveries |

marketspace |

contact animated e-mail gif to contact usus

all material on this page

morien institute

morien-institute.org 1996-2004