Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High risk of major tsunami in northern Caribbean

16.03.2005


Over 35 million could be affected



The potential for devastating tsunamis in the northern Caribbean is high, say marine scientists, based on their analysis of historical data since the arrival of Columbus. Several natural phenomena could trigger giant tsunamis, they say, with effects felt in the islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles and along the east and Gulf coasts of the United States.

Nancy Grindlay and Meghan Hearne of the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Paul Mann of the University of Texas at Austin focus on one major source of past tsunamis in the region: movement along the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates.


Writing in the March 22 issue of Eos, the newspaper of the American Geophysical Union, they say that at least 10 significant tsunamis have been documented in the northern Caribbean since 1492, six of which are known to have resulted in loss of life. All 10 were triggered by movement along this plate boundary, which lies along the north coast of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and extends some 3,200 kilometers [2,000 miles] from Central America to the Lesser Antilles.

Previous tsunamis destroyed Port Royal, Jamaica, in 1692, killed at least 10 Jamaicans on the island’s south coast in 1780, and ravaged the north coast of Hispaniola and the Virgin Islands in 1842. The most recent of the destructive northern Caribbean tsunami occurred in 1946 and was triggered by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Dominican Republic. It killed around 1,800 people.

The researchers estimate that with increased populations, especially in coastal areas, some 35.5 million people are now at risk should another strong tsunami hit the northern Caribbean. They note that in addition to their own studies of fault lines along the North American and Caribbean plate boundary, other researchers have studied the risk to the northern Caribbean from submarine landslides, both in the region and as far away as the Canary Islands. In the pre-1492 period, tsunamis greater than any in the past 500 years may have occurred, the scientists say, based on their study of underwater landslides off the north coast of Puerto Rico.

Grindlay and her colleagues are planning to visit the region later this month to investigate possible linkages between groundwater flow from Puerto Rico and underwater seeps in areas where land has subsided. Such flows, or fluxes, could contribute to small landslides that might trigger tsunamis. In the future, they hope to drill into the ocean bed to determine when and how often land had collapsed in the prehistoric era.

"The recent devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean has raised public awareness of tsunami hazard and the need for early warning systems in high-risk areas such as the Caribbean," Grindlay said in a statement. "An Intra-Americas Sea Tsunami Warning Project proposal has been approved by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and meetings to plan implementation are scheduled for this spring and summer."

Harvey Leifert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>