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Earth Science

Tsunami Hit New York City Region In 300 BC 147

Posted by timothy
from the no-place-is-completely-safe dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists say that sedimentary deposits from more than 20 cores in New York and New Jersey indicate a huge wave crashed into the New York City region 2,300 years ago, dumping sediment and shells across Long Island and New Jersey and casting wood debris far up the Hudson River. Steven Goodbred, an Earth scientist at Vanderbilt University, says that size and distribution of material would require a high velocity wave and strong currents to move it, and it is unlikely that short bursts produced in a storm would suffice. 'If we're wrong, it was one heck of a storm,' says Goodbred. An Atlantic tsunami is rare but not inconceivable, says Neal Driscoll, a geologist from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who is not associated with the research. The 1929 Grand Banks tsunami in Newfoundland killed more than two dozen people and snapped many transatlantic cables, and was set in motion by a submarine landslide set off by an earthquake."
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Tsunami Hit New York City Region In 300 BC

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:13PM (#27807759)

    The 1929 Grand Banks tsunami in Newfoundland killed more than two-dozen people and snapped many transatlantic cables, and was set in motion by a submarine landslide set off by an earthquake

    This is exactly why you shouldn't stack submarines. The fools!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    a big wave hits new york and new jersey. now just backtrack where the origin was, and boom! atlantis found.

    • by Bandman (86149)

      I think there might be something wrong with your timeline...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Z00L00K (682162)

      Never mind that - Atlantis seems to have been on Santorini in the Mediterranean, the rest is just speculation.

      What's more interesting is that if it has happened once it can happen again. Living by the coast is a blessing but also a curse. Living inland has it's good and bad sides too. More extreme temperature differences between winter and summer, but less risk for severe storms except for some areas that suffers tornadoes.

      So even if the ocean makes living easier it also comes with risk. But people are livi

      • by icebike (68054)

        > What's more interesting is that if it has happened once it can happen again.

        I just struck this match, and it lit ...

        • by nizo (81281) *

          After it burns out, let me know how many times you have to strike it before it re-lights.

  • They will have to make a blockbuster movie about this before I will believe it
  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:20PM (#27807817) Journal
    ...because Rudy Giuliani was mayor at the time and handled it well. And never passed up an opportunity to mention that he did so, either.
    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      I thought it was Bloomberg. And he has been re-elected ever since.

    • ...because Rudy Giuliani was mayor at the time and handled it well. And never passed up an opportunity to mention that he did so, either.

      A noun, a verb, and 300 BCE.

      • by SEWilco (27983)

        A noun, a verb, and 300 BCE.

        Yeah, that's about $2.50 in American money, right?

  • by WARM3CH (662028) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:34PM (#27807883)
    300 years BC and you call it news? Good job Slashdot!
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:36PM (#27807895) Homepage
    A few years ago I had a relative who was involved in a lot of the disaster planning for New Haven. Some scenarios were so bad that he more or less concluded that there wasn't any point in trying to make any substantial preparations because there wouldn't be anything they could do that would help. A large tsunami hitting New England was one of the situations. Either you get a warning on time or you don't. Not much local governments can do about it.
    • by Bandman (86149)

      I would think Long Island would take the brunt of force from the New Haven area. Echoes are bound to hit, but they're much lighter than the initial impacts.

      I suppose a sufficiently powerful quake from the right direction in the NE could send a wave down the sound. Talk about racking up the property damage...

    • by Iburnaga (1089755)
      Umbrellas, lots and lots of umbrellas. It's all you can do.
    • by Gerafix (1028986)
      What about launching nukes at the tsunami? They have enough of them, might as well use 'em for something. It would maybe help a bit, or create a huge wave of super heated steam...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by u38cg (607297)
        Well, indeed. A tsunamai hitting that part of the world would be, say, 200km long, very approximately. In open water, a tsunami is approximately a meter or so tall and travels at circa 1000km/h. So, roughly speaking, we have 0.5*((200km*pi*1m^2)*1000kg/m^3)*((1000km/s)^2)= pi*10^20 Joules. Now a megaton, roughly speaking, is 4.184*10^15 Joules. So, to deal with our posited tsunami, we will need pi*10^20/4.184*10^15 megatons of nuke, that is, around 75 000 megatons. The Tsar Bomba, the largest device e
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Umm, sorry you got the math wrong.

          It is the tsunami WAVE that travels at 1000km/h. There is no way the water itself travels at that speed. (It is almost the speed of sound. Do you really believe tsunami waves cause ocean to fly hypersonic?)

          Think of the sound: it travels at 340m/s, which does NOT mean that the medium (air) travels at that speed.

          The correct way to estimate tsunami's energy, I believe, is to calculate its *potential* energy. I.e., (200km*pi*1m^2)*1000kg/m^3 * 9.8m/s^2 * (roughly) 0.5m = 3*

          • by 49152 (690909)

            Does this mean that the detonation of 1500 Tsar bombs would make the ocean fly supersonically?

            That would be an awesome sight :-)

            But probably the last ting one ever saw...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by supercell (1148577)
      I disagree, there could be evacuation routes that would only have to move folks 2 miles inland to get out of harms way. A tsunami generated in the eastern Atlantic would take several hours to reach the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. giving time for some to evacuate low lying areas near the immediate coast.
  • I can't remember the name of it, but I read about an island somewhere off the coast of Africa. It's a giant chunk of rock that's split in such a way that its eventual collapse into the ocean is near certain. When it happens, the amount of water suddenly displaced could potentially cause a tsunami that we here on the East coast would definitely notice.
    • by Bandman (86149) <bandman@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:57PM (#27808077) Homepage

      You're talking about La Palma [wikipedia.org].

      And yea, no one is really sure what will happen when it goes into the sea. It depends a great deal on how it goes, I suppose.

      My money is on Yellowstone violently erupting, which shakes apart La Palma.

      Which gets the attention of the martians...

    • by Smitty825 (114634) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:57PM (#27808081) Homepage Journal
      You're probably thinking about the Cumbre Vieja [wikipedia.org] volcano, which is located off of the coast of Africa, and is believed to potentially cause a super-tsunami in the Atlantic.
      • by Bandman (86149)

        You must be a fellow (amatuer, like me?) volcano-seismo-doomsday-ologist :-) Not many people would have known not just the island, but the volcano's name at the drop of a hat. Nice!

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      La Palma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Palma [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Snowblindeye (1085701)

      I can't remember the name of it, but I read about an island somewhere off the coast of Africa. It's a giant chunk of rock that's split in such a way that its eventual collapse into the ocean is near certain.

      Well, there's one scientist who thinks its near certain, and a BBC documentary that focused on his points of view and made them sound like fact. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen, but it's not the certainty that the documentary made it sound.

      If I recall correctly, other scientist are far from convinced that his assumptions are right. I believe some theories predict slow land slides instead, which wouldn't cause tsunamis.

    • I can't remember the name of it, but I read about an island somewhere off the coast of Africa. It's a giant chunk of rock that's split in such a way that its eventual collapse into the ocean is near certain. When it happens, the amount of water suddenly displaced could potentially cause a tsunami that we here on the East coast would definitely notice.

      The US should put an instrument on that rock. When it stops transmitting, they have a couple of hours to evacuate the east coast of North America.

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      I can't remember the name of it, but I read about an island somewhere off the coast of Africa.

      I was reading my copy of "The Geology of Spain" (ISBN:1-86239-110-6) a couple of weeks ago in preparation for a holiday to Mallorca and I got distracted by the section on the "Islas Canarias" (Spain's island province off the NW coast of Africa). As of 1998 (Geological Magazine, v135, p591) there are some 15 slide deposits identified around the islands of the group, and at least 3 slides from La Palma itself. Of cou

  • by CBob (722532)

    They'd call it neighborhood improvement.

  • > and it is unlikely that short bursts produced in a storm would suffice. "If we're wrong, it was one heck of a storm," says Goodbred.

    And this is what makes science, science. The fact that it COULD be wrong and (good) scientists not only recognize it, but relish the possibility.

    • by glitch23 (557124)

      You wrote your post seemingly from a point of view that says science must be separate from religion. If that is true then I have to ask why you think that? For example, if the Holy Bible says there was a Great Flood then isn't it science's responsibility to prove it right or wrong? If not then I don't think there is any room to call Christians idiots for believing in something that can't be proven. Many of the events in the Bible can be proven but if science isn't going to take the time to do that then ther

      • No, science mostly ignores the Bible stories because there are a near infinite number of actual historical events that could account for stories such as the flood. It has nothing to do with disparaging religion, it is simply that the Bible doesn't have enough specific detail to pinpoint which historical event might be referred to. The story of the flood is, what, four paragraphs long?

        1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this
  • Cumbre Vieja is a volcano in the Canary Islands that if it were to blow could cause a tsunami from the eruption or, worse from a large landslide. Its tsunami would hit the East Coast of the US.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbre_Vieja [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.iberianature.com/material/megatsunami.html [iberianature.com]

  • by Haxx (314221) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @07:34PM (#27810555) Homepage

    I grew up 5 miles from the water on Central Long Island's "South Shore". When I was a kid my friends father had a large garden, about 80 yards by 20 yards. Every year when he would till/turn the soil, large crumbling shells would turn up. We always wondered why they were so close to the surface in a place that had been above sea level for millions of years. Maybe this is the answer.

  • The 1929 Grand Banks tsunami in Newfoundland killed more than two dozen people and snapped many transatlantic cables, and was set in motion by a submarine landslide set off by an earthquake.

    There was a tsunami, triggered by the Grand Banks 1929 earthquake, but I wasn't aware of it killing many people at landfall. Then again - two dozen people is only a couple of years of Canadian oil exploration deaths, so it's still not that many.

    But the cable snapping has generally been attributed to the progression of a

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