Oldest Tsunami Victim Discovered

A 6,000-year-old human skull discovered in a swamp almost a century ago could be from the world’s earliest known tsunami victim.

In 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld stumbled on a partial human skull in a mangrove outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea.

Originally thought to belong to Homo erectus, the skull was subsequently dated to the mid-Holocene period.

New research into the area the skull was buried in suggests the individual fell victim to a violent ancient tsunami.

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In 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld stumbled on a partial human skull (pictured) in a mangrove outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea. New research into the area the skull was buried suggests the individual fell victim to a violent ancient tsunami

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Atlantis Wiped out by Tsunami

The legend of Atlantis is one of the oldest myths of mankind, first told by Plato in around 360 BC, describing a prosperous land that disappeared without a trace and sunk into the sea.

Many people believe that Santorini was once Atlantis, where a destructive eruption generated tsunamis that wiped out the Minoan culture.

A new study suggests that the tsunamis may have been generated by the pyroclastic flow of volcanic material into the sea – a theory that challenges previous explanations.

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A new study suggests that the tsunamis may have been generated by the pyroclastic flow of volcanic material into the sea ¿ a theory that challenges previous explanations for the tsunamis that led to the demise of Minoan culture
A new study suggests that the tsunamis may have been generated by the pyroclastic flow of volcanic material into the sea – a theory that challenges previous explanations for the tsunamis that led to the demise of Minoan culture

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Disaster-Proof Pod

Inventor to test new escape ‘ship’ by going over Niagara falls

 

A British inventor has made a ‘tsunami survival’ capsule, and is to test it by going over Niagara Falls.

Aerospace engineer Julian Sharpe, 50, believes his disaster-proof pod will save people from tidal waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and super storms.

And he is so confident of the life-saving aluminium ball that he will ride it down the world-famous 167ft waterfall.

Survival: Former Boeing engineer Julian Shape has designed a pod which will keep people safe during natural disasters including tsunamis and hurricanes
Former Boeing engineer Julian Shape has designed a pod which will keep people safe during natural disasters including tsunamis and hurricanes

He said: ‘We can tell people how strong it is, but until you’ve proved that it’s saved a life they might not believe you.’

Mr Sharpe claims the sphere will protect him from the massive impact, which will be similar to being rear ended by a car at about 20 mph.

He believes the capsule will keep people safe in natural disasters, such as the tsunamis which hit Thailand and Japan.

In a tsunami the main danger is not drowning in the fast flowing water but being crushed by the debris which is swept along.

He said: ‘Since it’s a sphere, when you do run into something it’s just going to glance off.

‘In most cases, you’re probably going to be a bit lighter than those objects so those objects will just go along their way and kind of move you.’

Drop: Mr Sharpe is to prove how strong the pod is by going over Niagara Falls
 Mr Sharpe is to prove how strong the pod is by going over Niagara Falls

Mr Sharpe was born in Carmarthern, West Wales, but now lives in Seattle in the United States.

The former Boeing engineer has taken his prototypes to the Yokohama Expo in Kanagawa, Japan, and sponsors have commissioned further production.

Now Mr Sharpe and his business partners are hoping to sell different models of the capsule for between $990 and $4950.

Disaster: British search and rescue teams on the ground in Ofunato, Japan, where they were flown in to help search for survivors of the county's biggest earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011
British search and rescue teams on the ground in Ofunato, Japan, where they were flown in to help search for survivors of the county’s biggest earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011

He claims the capsule will keep up to six people safe for several hours while it is buffeted by a Tsunami’s powerful wave.

He said: ‘After the tsunami in Japan, we decided we had to develop it and get it out there for the masses.

‘There are 135 countries worldwide exposed to the tsunami wave.

‘If you can save one life, it would be worth producing it.’

Attribution: James Rush

There Be Pirates

Once known as the wickedest city in the world when it was the playground of British buccaneers and explorers in the 17th century, little now remains of Port Royal.

However, a campaign supported by the Jamaican government was launched this week to secure UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage status for the sunken city to put it firmly back on the map.

Surveys by a team of experts are under way to mark the land and sea boundaries of what is regarded as one of the most important archeological sites in British history as part of the bid to UNESCO.

A seven-mile spit of golden sand arcs around Kingston bay protecting the capital. At the far end lies the small fishing village of Port Royal (of “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame), which was once a bustling city and key British outpost in the 1600s.

The port, which boasted a population of 7,000 and was comparable to Boston during the same period, was a playground for buccaneers like Henry Morgan, who docked in search of rum, women and boat repairs.

England seized Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655 under the orders of Oliver Cromwell with the aim of establishing a trading base in the Spanish New World.

Merchants and pirates flocked to the new settlement and Port Royal soon became synonymous for excess. There was one tavern for every 10 residents and boasted a thriving prostitution trade.

The city became known as “the Sodom of the New World”, with contemporary writer Charles Leslie noting in his history of Jamaica of the buccaneers: “Wine and women drained their wealth to such a degree that… some of them became reduced to beggary. They have been known to spend 2 or 3,000 pieces of eight in one night and one gave a strumpet 500 to see her naked.”

However, on June 7, 1692, an earthquake and tsunami decimated the coastline, submerging two-thirds of the city and killing an estimated 2,000 people.

The port remained a key strategic British naval base, but the debauchery was washed away with the tsunami. Fort Charles, where Lord Nelson was once stationed, sank three and a half feet during the earthquake but remains standing to this day.

Despite the village being littered with remnants of British military installations, many of the historic colonial buildings are dilapidated.

The algae-covered remnants of the city are under water in an archaeological preserve closed to divers without a permit.

But in recent decades, underwater excavations have turned up artifacts including cannonballs, wine glasses, ornate pipes, pewter plates and ceramic plates dredged from the muck just offshore. The partial skeleton of a child was found in 1998.

At a press conference on Tuesday, experts said it is among the top British archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere and should be protected for future generations.

“There is outstanding potential here. Submerged towns like this just do not exist anywhere else in the Americas,” said Robert Grenier, a Canadian underwater archaeologist who has worked closely with UNESCO.

Donny Hamilton, Texas A&M University nautical archaeologist, said the consulting team has completed the fieldwork for the world heritage assessment and is working on a management plan.

Port Royal could become a sustainable attraction for tourists but first “there’s got to be something above the ground that people are going to want to come and see,” Mr Hamilton said.

Jamaican officials and businessmen have announced various strategies to renovate the ramshackle town over the years, including plans for modern cruise liners and a Disney-style theme park featuring actors dressed as pirates.

Some area businessmen have grown exasperated with the slow pace of development.

Attribution: UK Telegraph

It’s Not My Fault

Scientists say a fault-line running across Alaska could cause tsunamis of the same magnitude as the Japanese disaster of March last year.

Attention has turned to the Alaskan-Aleutian subduction zone, a region where one of the earth’s tectonic plates, carrying the Pacific Ocean, drops beneath the North American plate.

A particular section of the fault near the Semidi Islands has not ruptured since at least 1788, and measurements on this area – which lies four to five kilometers (2-1/2 to 3 miles) under water – reveal the pressure is accumulating rapidly.

If the Pacific Ocean plate slips, as happened in the geographically-similar Tohoku subduction zone off the coast of Japan, a tsunami could occur – and could wreak havoc as far away as Hawaii and California.

According to Discovery.com, scientists are now investigating the underwater fault-line in the hope of estimating the likelihood of danger to the U.S. and to the Hawaiian islands.

The last time a slip between the Alaskan plates occurred, it led to the Good Friday Earthquake, on March 27, 1964, which was the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history – a 9.2 magnitude earthquake and led to 145 deaths.

Tsunamis also occurred in this area in 1947 and 1957, while a magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred in the area last June, but as its location did not lead to a tsunami, a brief tsunami warning was recalled shortly afterwards.

Many of these deaths happened hundreds of miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake – with 90% caused by tsunamis.

The Japanese quake, which measured 9.0 magnitude, led to a 10-meter-high (33 ft) tsunami and ended up killing an estimated 18,000 people.

Attribution: Eddie Wrenn, Discovery

Talk About being Swept Away

I have to stop saving this stuff. Anyway, here ya go.

A Japanese boat swept away a year ago by deadly tsunami spotted 4,703 miles away floating near Canada

A large fishing vessel swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last year has been spotted bobbing in the seas near British Columbia in western Canada.

The trawler is part of the 5 million tons of debris that were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

The 23ft wall of water struck the east coast of the island nation following a 9.0 earthquake, sweeping everything from cars to houses into the ocean leaving a wake of devastation.

More than a year later a Canadian military air patrol spotted the vessel – 4,703 miles away from where it was originally moored – floating towards the shore.

It has been determined that the boat has been adrift without anybody at the helm since March 11 last year.

The 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) vessel was recently about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Haida Gwaii, islands off the north-coast of British Columbia, slowly drifting toward shore.

A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.

The Japan Coast Guard identified the owner of the fishing trawler after being contacted by Canadian officials, who were able to provide the identification number on the hull of the ship.

The vessel, which was used for squid fishing, was moored at Hachinohe in the Aomori prefecture when the tsunami hit, said Toshiro Yoshinaga, a Coast Guard official.

Canadian agencies are monitoring the ship for possible marine pollution, though there are no reports of leaks from the vessel, the defense department said.

The earthquake, which struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo, was the largest in the country’s history.

Thousands of people were killed when the earthquake triggered the tsunami and other giant waves that devastated cities and rural areas.

According to the official toll, the disasters left 15,839 dead, 5,950 injured, and 3,642 missing

Attribution: Daily Mail