Scientists warn of a mega-tsunami along Alaskan coast as early as 12 months

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Oct 21, 2020, 06:11 PM(IST)

This 2008 photo courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows a Killer Whale pod at the Prince William Sound between Green Island and Applegate Island. Photograph:( AFP )

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Scientists fear that Alaska could soon be hit by a mega-tsunami owing to a landslide which was triggered by melting of glaciers in the region

Scientists fear that Alaska could soon be hit by a mega-tsunami owing to a landslide which was triggered by melting of glaciers in the region.

Even though the bigger projected timeline of the disaster to strike is within the next two decades, scientists warned that the catastrophe could strike within the next 12 months.

In an open letter written to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) in May, a group of scientists warned of the disaster.

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While it’s difficult to ascertain the exact timeline of the disaster, its precursors are becoming increasingly evident. In Alaska’s Prince William Sound, melting has created a rocky scar called “scarp”, satellite imagery has shown.

This is indicative of gradual landslide taking place. However, if for whatever reasons, the rocks slid at once, all hell would break loose. Mostly a remote area, it is mostly visited by commercial boats.

In conversation with NASA’s Earth Observatory, Chuli Dai, a geophysicist from the Ohio State University said that due to the position of the rocks, a sudden collapse would produce “16 times more debris” and “11 times more energy” than a similar landslide in Alaska’s Lituya Bay. This is enough to trigger a mega tsunami.

In 1958, the tsunami wave witnessed is characterised by its height, often called the tallest tsunami wave for reaching the height of 525 metres, or 1,720 feet.

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Such sudden collapses are caused by slope failure events. Scientists believe it is caused by an array of factors including hot weather causing melting, prolonged rain, among many.

After the report surfaced in May, little to no movement has been reported. According to LiveScience, the rock has been in movement for at least 50 years now.

This points to a bigger threat from climate change in general, causing such potential tsunamis around the globe. The potential tsunami in Alaska could reach heights of hundreds of feet!

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