The challenges of tsunami risk assessment

Dr James Hunt looking at tsunami deposits in a core held in BOSCORF

At a global scale, tsunamis are relatively infrequent when compared with hurricanes or storm surges, but they are among our most destructive and deadly natural disasters, and their impact will become greater as human populations continue to rise substantially in coastal cities.

World Tsunami Awareness Day – 5th November 2018

To mark World Tsunami Awareness Day on 5 November 2018, NOC scientists have prepared this Q&A feature on potential tsunami risks to the UK and its citizens.

The planet’s largest landslides happen on submarine volcanoes

Large volume submarine landslides, triggered by the inception and growth of submarine volcanoes, represent among the largest mass movements of sediment on Earth’s surface.

Ancient Caribbean tsunami caused by volcano collapse smaller than thought

Monserrat volcano as seen from the JR research ship (credit: Adam Stilton, volcanologist)

Tsunamis triggered by the partial collapse of the Caribbean Monserrat volcano 13,000 years ago, would have been much smaller than previously thought, according to research published soon in Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geosystems.

Historic tide gauge data to shed light on ancient tsunamis

UKHO Tide gauge at Gibraltar (in operation until 2000), similar in operation to the gauge at Malta

By restoring historic tide gauge data from Malta and making it available to the public, researchers at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the UKHO hope to shed new light on past tsunamis and climate change in the Mediterranean.

Mega-Tsunami – a threat to the UK?

Aerial view of La Palma

Anyone who watched the recent documentary ‘Could we survive a Mega-Tsunami?’ can be forgiven for looking for property on higher ground, as it made for pretty terrifying viewing! Giant computer-generated waves aside, just what is the risk to the UK from landslides on the flanks of volcanoes in the Canary Islands?

Study uncovers new evidence for assessing tsunami risk from very large volcanic island landslides

Extracting a core from the seabed. Credit Russell Wynn.

The risk posed by tsunami waves generated by Canary Island landslides may need to be re-evaluated, according to researchers at the National Oceanography Centre. Their findings suggest that these landslides result in smaller tsunami waves than previously thought by some authors, because of the processes involved.

Will sea level rise lead to more underwater landslides?

Graphic denoting continental slope failure. From Bryn et al. (2005)

Underwater landslides are potentially very damaging: they can generate tsunami waves and destroy expensive and crucial seabed infrastructure, such as pipelines and cables.

Rare UK tsunami was caused by a storm

St Michael’s Mount

A tsunami which struck the Yealm estuary near Plymouth, UK in 2011 was caused by the weather, say scientists.

Tsunami warning systems meeting

Tsunami conference participants

The National Oceanography Centre has played host to an international meeting of more than 60 experts working in the fields of earthquakes, sea level, risk assessment, tsunami warning systems and civil protection.