New Study: Landslide Tsunamis are Caused by Global Warming


An Alaskan fjord was ripped through by a tsunami with a wave runup of almost 200 meters in 2015 proving to be the biggest ever documented. As it did not make victims, it underwent unnoticed.

The cause of the tsunami and its results

A massive rockfall triggered the tsunami which’s trigger happened due to the Tyndall Glacier beginning to melt.

According to a study from Scientific Reports, glaciers are shrinking faster than ever due to the global warming which means that more tidal waves will be triggered by the weak rocky slopes’ collapse.

A wave runup was generated by the tsunami, and it measured 193 meters (633 feet) making it the maximum vertical extent of wave uprush on a beach.

The steep slopes are supported and undercut by glacial ice, and the underlying bedrock is left unstable and exposed when the ice melts warning of landslides and rockfalls.

The study conducted

The most recent risk research which had tsunamis as the main subject used data from the earthquake-generated ones. The tsunami from the Indian Ocean for example which took place in 2004.

Landslide tsunamis are very rare, and the last study on them was conducted 60 years ago.

Now, thanks to the improved technology, satellites helped experts with data and high-quality footage of the phenomenon.

Fortunately, the clear sedimentary record left behind was captured as well which leads to more accurate predictions of such risks and covers for the cause of early events.

Experts new since 20 years ago that the rock face in Taan Fjord was unstable and from that, they knew that such an event might occur right there in a matter of decades.

However, icebergs are breaking off from glaciers and also cause tidal waves, and the risk gets higher.


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