Tsunami risk is not something that we would typically associate with Britain; however, scientists believe that the threat of this occurring around our shores is much stronger than we might have originally anticipated.
New research has discovered that undersea landslides may put the UK at higher risk of tsunamis than previously considered. This could have a major impact on coastal towns and coastal infrastructure, including shipping ports and power stations.
60 foot Shetland’s Tsunami
As part of the research undertaken by scientists, it has become apparent that the UK experiences giant waves more often than previously thought; in fact, thousands of years ago, a huge tsunami more than 60 feet high hit the Shetland Islands. Scientists believe this was caused by a massive chunk of seabed – larger than the size of Scotland – detaching from near Norway, causing this epic wave to travel towards the Shetland Islands.
Although most people associate tsunamis with earthquakes, new research has proven that the threat to the UK from tsunamis is from underwater landslides caused by billions of tons of mud shifting from beneath the seabed; as a result, giant waves are being created below the surface.
As a response to this new research, scientists state that the UK should consider adding tsunamis to the National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies; in addition, the government should devise response plans for the country in the event of a tsunami occurring, in the same way in which plans have been drawn up for other natural disasters such as flooding.
Although the risk of experiencing 60-foot waves is not presently something that coastal visitors and dwellers should be too concerned about, you should always take care when visiting the seaside, especially at this time of year when storms and windy weather are more frequent. Stay safe, check the tide times, and keep away from strong waves.