Experts Warn of Massive Gulf Tsunamis

Raptor Offers High Tech Anchoring
July 7, 2020
Try These Outdoor Heat Hacks
July 7, 2020

In a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, Florida researchers have discovered numerous tsunami risks in Gulf of Mexico waters related to submarine landslides.

In the paper entitled Abundant Spontaneous and Dynamically Triggered Submarine Landslides in the Gulf of Mexico, they said submarine landslides can pose hazards to coastal communities and offshore infrastructure, including triggering tsunamis and damaging oil platforms, pipelines, and submarine cables.

These devastations may further cause environmental damages such as oil spills. Identifying these landslides and understanding their failure processes have both societal significance and intellectual merit. Using 8 years of continuous seismic data, we found 85 previously unknown submarine landslides in the Gulf of Mexico from 2008 to 2015. Ten of these landslides occurred without preceding earthquakes while the remaining 75 were triggered by the passing seismic surface waves from distant earthquakes. Our approach suggests that a remote detection technology for offshore landslides could be applied in tsunami warning systems

According to tsunamis have happened in the Gulf of Mexico for centuries.

Before high-tech tsunami information was available, people who lived along the gulf coast and in Caribbean nations had no way of knowing that one had occurred until it arrived on their shores. Jamaica has been pummeled by tsunamis in the past. In 1780, for example, at least 10 people died because of one.

The most recent example of a tsunami in the Gulf of Mexico happened in 1946, when a magnitude 8.1 earthquake ripped through the Dominican Republic and ultimately killed more than 1,800 people.

Dr. Juan Horrillo is an associate professor and leader of the Tsunami Research Group (TRG) at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

Horrillo and his team have developed numerical models that simulate tsunamis caused by large submarine landslides, or those that occur underwater in the Gulf of Mexico. Their 3D and 2D models provide experts, agencies, and researchers a valuable tool in evaluating and preparing for tsunamis in the Gulf.

The project is funded by the National Weather Service – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program.

“Potential tsunami sources for the Gulf of Mexico are local submarine landslides,” said Horrillo.

He explained that although the probability of a massive underwater landslide in the Gulf is very low, it is still a possibility, thus making it important to be prepared and equipped to handle such a catastrophe, should one occur.

Here is a model of impact according to Horrillo’s calculations.


Comments are closed.