Nearly a century has passed since Europe’s last Tunami, a 13m wave caused by an earthquake off the coast of Sicily that was responsible for around 2,000 deaths.
Sometimes tsunamis in the Mediterranean can be even more destructive – a large volcanic eruption on the island of Thera (Santorini) around 3500 years ago generated a wave that decimated an entire civilisation.
Millions more people live along the Mediterranean coastline these days, of course, and the volcanoes and earthquakes haven’t gone anywhere.
ndeed a new study in the journal Ocean Science suggests even a moderate earthquake in the eastern Mediterranean could set off a tsunami with the potential to affect a large proportion of the 130m people who live on its coastline.
The devastating tsunamis that hit Indonesia and surrounding countries in 2004 and Japan in 2011 were a wakeup call.
Since the turn of the century 177 tsunamis have actually been recorded and of these, four occurred within the Mediterranean basin.
These were all relatively small, and no one died. But history suggests more destructive waves are inevitable. Are we prepared for the “big one”?”