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Fri Jun 4, 2021, 07:38 AM

Ancient tsunami could have wiped out Scottish cities today, study finds

Research maps the extent of the catastrophic Storegga tsunami 8,200 years ago for the first time

Libby Brooks Scotland correspondent
Fri 4 Jun 2021 01.00 EDT

Towns and cities across Scotland would be devastated if the country’s coastline was hit by a tsunami of the kind that happened 8,200 years ago, according to an academics’ study.

While about 370 miles of Scotland’s northern and eastern coastline were affected when the Storegga tsunami struck, the study suggests a modern-day disaster of the same magnitude would have worse consequences.

The researchers at the universities of Sheffield, St Andrews and York attributed this to denser human populations and higher sea levels that could potentially destroy seafront and port areas of Arbroath, Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick, all of which have significant built-up areas less than 10 metres above sea level and directly face the sea.

The study which maps the impact of the ancient tsunami for the first time, used modelling to estimate how far the wave would have travelled inland. The estimates suggest the water could have encroached up to 18 miles inland. That distance today would probably leave a town such as Montrose, which overlooks a tidal lagoon and has a population of 12,000, completely devastated.


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