The Tsunami "Sicilian" and Atlantis
The evidence in a search of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology
Etna 8000 years ago caused a massive tsunami
A landslide caused by the eastern side of a wall of water that reached Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel and Egypt
Eight thousand years ago a huge landslide of 35 cubic kilometers of lava material, about a tenth of the summit cone of Etna, broke away from the eastern flank of the volcano and sank in the Ionian Sea, causing a tsunami which compares the 2004 Southeast Asia pales. Probably the biggest tsunami since the appearance of man on Earth. During the ten minutes it took to stop the landslide on the bottom of the Ionian sea rose in a wall of water like an amphitheater for up to 50 meters high. Then the wave, traveling at speeds between 200 and 700 km per hour (slower in shallow water and faster in the deep sea), spread to the East, investing in rapid succession, eastern Sicily, Calabria, Puglia, Albania Greece, Crete, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria and Israel and in the South, hitting North Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt.
EVIDENCE - Evidence of that old catastrophe that wiped prehistoric coastal settlements of the Eastern Mediterranean and South America, were recently discovered by researchers at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), thanks to a series of underwater exploration and computer analysis of the shape of the deposits under the sea. The study, just published in the authoritative international scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters with the suggestive title of "Lost tsunami (tsunami forgotten), was funded by the Department of Civil Defence and also represents a valuable contribution to assessing the risk of possible tsunamis in Mediterranean.
ERUPTION OR EARTHQUAKE - "I do not know what was the cause of that huge collapse, perhaps an eruption more abundant than usual, perhaps an earthquake - said Professor Enzo Boschi, president of the INGV and author of the study along with geophysicists Maria Teresa Pareschi and Massimiliano Favalli. " The fact is that huge amounts of lava deposits that had accumulated for millennia on the steep slopes of Mount Etna on the Ionian sea, he fell down and ended up partly on the coast at the foot of the volcano, and for the most part on the bottom of the sea to about 20 km from the coast itself. The evidence of megatsunami and it was the age in which we have gathered there and in the depths of the Mediterranean, between the layers of sediment under the sea. Etna, what is now called the Valle del Bove, a large indentation on the eastern flank of the volcano, which collects the current lava flows due east, is the residual scar of that distant event, largely filled by successive eruptions. "
TSUNAMI FORGOTTEN - But why talk of "tsunami forgotten? "Because the tracks in the form of chaotic deposits thrown by the waves of the tsunami on the shores of the Mediterranean, are no longer visible - add another author of the study, Prof. Maria Teresa Pareschi seat Ingv Pisa -.In fact, over the past 8000 years, sea level rose several meters is everywhere because of the deglaciation. What were the coastal towns of the time, are now submerged. In order to reconstruct the effects of the disaster, explains Pareschi, have been two types of research: "On the one hand a campaign of seismic surveys, carried out with artificial earthquakes in the Ionian Sea in front of Mount Etna, which allowed us to reconstructprofiles of the debris tumbled down and conclude that the volumes of material that is now submerged match that broke away from the mountain, forming the Valle del Bove. The other a computer simulation of the tsunami, thanks to which we were able to reconstruct both the mode of propagation of tsunami waves, the disturbance is very resentful to the depths, where the sediments lying on the seabed, were violently shaken, taking a configuration feature. Analyzing the current bathymetric charts, that the topography of the seafloor, we found that kind of configuration described by our computer simulation. "
SIMULATION - But here the simulation of the "Lost tsunami", an animated three-dimensional color, the researchers show that while the pictures are running on a large screen in the laboratories Ingv of Rome. Shows, first, the wall of water that, minutes after the big splash, "hits the eastern coast of Sicily: Catania, Siracusa and Messina, virtually without going into the Tyrrhenian Sea through the barrier of the Strait. Then, after a quarter hour, traveling in the Ionian Sea, Calabria reaches, where the waves are still 40 meters high. Between one and two hours after it is for the coastal areas of Albania and Greece being flooded with 10-15 feet of water. Two-three hours later came the turn of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, joined by waves of 8-13 meters. Three-four hours later, the beaches are flooded Lebanon, Israel and Syria, but this time with smaller wave heights (so to speak), around 4 meters. In those days civilization 'Neolithic was flourishing in Mesopotamia (between the Tigris el' Euphrates), with many villages dedicated to agriculture and cattle breeding, but still sparse in the Mediterranean. However, on the banks of the Near East and North Africa there were several coastal settlements that were swept away by waves."Right in Israel is, in our opinion, the only evidence still showed the devastating impact coastal tsunami: the Neolithic village of Atlit-Yam, as is clear from the archaeological excavations, it was suddenly dropped - refers Pareschi, which is now extending the research to some fascinating aspects palaeoenvironmental - ».
Santorini and Atlantis - A historical fallout of our research consists in having shown that some submarine deposits of the Eastern Mediterranean, the first attributed to an eruption of Santorini volcano in Greece are due to the Etna collapse 8000 years ago. And why not, the myth of Atlantis, the mysterious island engulfed by the waves described by Plato, may have been born from megatsunami Etna. "The next step that the researchers intend to make the INGV is to check if the mega-landslides Etna can raise tsunamis have, as you suspect, a certain periodicity. The hunt for traces in the form of special deposits underground and submarine is open: "In order to be aware of potential risks and to prepare applicants for the appropriate time control measures and prevention, "concludes Professor Woods.