A Cambridge University team believes that the Mediterranean could be at risk from a devastating tsunami
The Mediterranean is at much higher risk than previously thought. A major quake struck hundreds of years ago in 365AD, triggering a huge tsunami that wiped out Crete and devastated coastal regions as far away as Egypt. The quake lifted a 200 mile stretch of the coastline of western Crete by up to 10 metres above sea level, tilting Crete to the north east. Similar quakes could strike in as little as 800 years as stresses and strains build up in the seabed. On average, one disastrous tsunami takes place in the Mediterranean region every 100 years, but there have been no large events in the last century and there have been nowhere near enough earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean to accommodate the motion between Africa and Eurasia. However, by analysing evidence of previous sea levels they found that, unlike in Sumatra, where one fault slips frequently in large earthquakes, "here, two fault systems accommodate the motion. One fault is lubricated, slipping quietly without earthquakes, whereas the other slips infrequently in large earthquakes which can cause tsunamis." In all, 10 percent of all tsunamis worldwide occur in the Mediterranean.
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