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Ear to the Ground

Underwater Landslide Could Trigger Australian Tsunami

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Posted on Dec 22, 2012
Wikimedia Commons

A slab of rock overhanging an underwater canyon near the northeast border of Australia threatens to generate a tsunami when it eventually breaks off, researchers warned Friday.

Marine geologists from Australia’s James Cook University came across the one cubic kilometer chunk of seafloor perched on the continental shelf within the Great Barrier Reef.

Researchers don’t know when the shelf will collapse, but are certain that “it is slowly giving way … is absolutely going to collapse and when it does fall it will fall one kilometre into the adjacent basin.” The result would be a “localized tsunami that will affect the Queensland coastline” of Australia, around 40 miles away.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Agence France-Presse via The Raw Story:

“Undersea landslides are a well understood geological process but we didn’t know there were any on the Barrier Reef,” geologist Robin Beaman told AFP.

“We found this one large block that stood out. It is sitting on top of a sub-marine canyon, cutting into the slopes and it is in the preliminary stage of collapse.”

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