Geological evidence indicates that the eastern flanks of Mt. Etna volcano, located on Italy's island of Sicily, suffered at least one large collapse nearly 8,000 years ago.
Pareschi et al. modeled this collapse and discovered that the volume of landslide material, combined with the force of the debris avalanche, would have generated a catastrophic tsunami, which would have impacted all of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Simulations show that the resulting tsunami waves would have destabilized soft marine sediments across the floor of the Ionian Sea.
The authors note that field evidence for this destabilization can be seen in other scientists' accounts of widespread large chaotic deposits of sediments in the Ionain and Sirte Abyssal Plains and tsunami-related deposits called homogenite on local depressions of the Ionian seafloor. They also speculate that this tsunami may have led to the abandonment of a Neolithic village in Israel.
Title: The lost tsunami
Authors: Maria Teresa Pareschi, Enzo Boschi, and Massimiliano Favalli: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Pisa, Italy.
Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2006GL027790, 2006
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