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submarine landSLIDEs and TSUnami MOdeling on the margins of the Mediterranean Sea

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Hazards from the deep

An underwater landslide could cause a tsunami and wreak havoc on shore. The Mediterranean isn't immune to such scenarios, but improved knowledge can help manage them.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Below the deep blue of the Mediterranean there are a number of potential geological hazards, or geohazards, lurking such as the possibility of tsunamis and underwater landslides. The EU-funded project 'Submarine landslides and tsunami modelling on the margins of the Mediterranean Sea' (Tsumoslide) aimed to investigate these hazards. It identified danger areas that could cause more trouble in the future and sought to model submarine landslides, as well as their impact. The project examined the behaviour of waves and tidal waves that come close to the shore and identified high-risk areas that should be addressed in national geohazard plans. To achieve its aims, Tsumoslide defined modelling procedures for waves generated by tsunamis and landslides. It integrated all known landslides into geographic positioning software, including the hazards' features such as sediment, composition and age of failure, as well as dimensions before and after failure. Tsumoslide selected one recent submarine landslide case situated off the Syrian coast to study it through high-resolution multibeam bathymetry. The project successfully estimated its sediment composition and enriched its knowledge through this particular case. Overall all, Tsumoslide found that submarine landslides were everywhere along the continental margins of the Mediterranean basin. It noted that tectonically quiet zones seemed to have the highest density of known events. A wealth of data on abyssal plains, megaturbidities, debris avalanches and headwall heights connected with landslides emerged from the project. The research has illuminated the topic and will hopefully help us to respond early to such hazards one day.

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