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back to article Geneva devastated by monster tsunami, millions at risk

Geologists have found the culprit behind a huge tsunami that devastated the site of the Swiss city of Geneva in 563 AD and say a similar wave could be in the city's future. "Out of its banks it devastated villages with very old men and herds, it even destroyed many holy places with their priests and rose with fury over the …

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Mushroom

It's the only way

Nuke the Cumbre Vieja volcanic on the Canary Islands from orbit. 100 megatons should do it.

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Coat

"That amount of rock hitting the ocean would generate a kilometer-tall tsunami that would still be 50 meters high when it hit the US coastline, with the wave fanning out to disrupt Western Europe as well."

And people get upset over a piddly bit of climate change from CO2?

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Life on Earth is too dangerous!

Clearly its is just one more straw to break the camel's back proving life on Earth is too dangerous!

Time is running out! We must terraform a planet safe for delicate humans before we are all killed!

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Boffin

Re: Life on Earth is too dangerous!

No. We just need to slap a health & safety order on earth, and get the management to make it safe. 7 billion hard hats, eye-protectors and luminous tabards later and we should all be good.

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Lituya Bay

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1958_Lituya_Bay_megatsunami

500m high...and two people survived it. So, we're obviously all just fine :-)

http://youtu.be/yN6EgMMrhdI

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Anonymous Coward

I think the Canary Islands maths has been discredited

I'm sure I read a few years after that "news", that actually the Canaries aren't unstable and actually any tidal wave wouldn't be anything like that big - as common sense might suggest, when you think how the wave would spread across thousands of miles of ocean...

...here, for example:

http://www.lapalma-tsunami.com/tudelft.html

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Re: I think the Canary Islands maths has been discredited

Indeed...I remember the programme..."Superwaves" on the beeb - broadcast back in the early 2000's I think.

Some of the prog was pretty spot on...that rogue waves are a reality and far more common than originally thought. Then in a fit of Discovery Channel inspired sensationalism they went slightly OOT about the Canaries and the "Superwave"...1000 metres high travelling at 600Km per hour...utter bollocks.

I really hate Discovery Channel.

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Holmes

Atlantis!

In Switzerland?

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As a Geneva resident...

... I'm glad I live on the 7th floor :)

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Err... doesn't the Rhone enter at the /eastern/ end of Lake Geneva?

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Rhone

It does indeed.

Enters at Lausanne, exits at Geneva.

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Re: Rhone

I've already sent in a correction about this. I drive past this spot 3-4 times a year.

It actual enters west of Villeneuve, south of Montreaux.

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Re: Rhone

glad I'm not the only one that spotted this. Unless many visits to Geneva have mean that they put in place a reality distortion field to fool everyone...

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Ru
Facepalm

There's even a map in the article showing where the Rhone enters.

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Coat

"Out of its banks it devastated villages with very old men and herds, it even destroyed many holy places with their priests"

The tsunami managed to destroy a village using only old men and herds? And it convinced priests to destroy their own holy places?! Must've been some sort of brain wave.

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Doesn't make sense

If we might return to the subject of the article for a moment, the shape of the Lake suggests that the amplitude of the wave would increase, rather than decrease, between Lucerne and Geneva. If the source of the tsunami is correct, the amplitudes are wrong (reversed?).

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Facepalm

Re: Doesn't make sense

Since the Alps are between Lucerne and Geneva, that certainly would affect a tsunami traveling from the former to the latter! :)

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Re: Doesn't make sense

I assume that the lake sides&bottom are not perfectly smooth and reflective, so some of the energy is dissipated as the wave moves along the lake, resulting in the decreased amplitude by the time it reaches Geneva.

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Boffin

Lucern and Geneva??

I suspect you mean Lausanne and Geneva? Certainly the narrowing of the lake approaching Geneva would encourage a build-up of water, but I would think that the crescent shape would mean that the wave would be pushing towards the northern shore, playing pretty havoc with swathes of excellent wine-producing vinyards and numerous mega-villas belonging to ultra-loaded tax-avoiding ex-pats, and would thus hit Geneva less strobgly than it would hit Lausanne

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Holmes

I misread part of that as "Saint Gregory of Torus"

There is the theory of the Möbius... a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop. When we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again...

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Re: I misread part of that as "Saint Gregory of Torus"

There is the theory of the Möbius... a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop. When we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again...

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Coat

warning system

It takes 70 minutes for the wave to travel from the collapsing delta to Geneva, so a warning system should be feasible: water level sensors should have provided clear evidence of a wave within 10 minutes, giving the Genevois a clear hour to GTFO.

Coat icon because I'm practising my evacuation plan.

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Stop

Re: warning system

A clear hour? Have you tried driving in Geneva in the rush hour?!

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Thumb Up

Re: warning system

True, the traffic is quite bad considering the short distances, but since Geneva is really tiny, even in rush hour conditions an hour is usually more than enough to get from the lakeside tohigher ground. Anyway most of the congestion is caused by constriction at the bridges, so if everyone is just making for high ground on their own side of teh river, it would help a lot.

The Swiss are a pretty organised bunch, if anyone can pull off a drill to evacuate a small city in an hour, it's them... and I half-expect to receive a detailed evacuation plan in my mailbox within a few months!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: warning system

I know that Zürich already has a warning system against a tsunami resulting from a breakage of the Sihlsee dam, which would result in a wave which would leave the central part of the city under 8m of water. I worked in Flurstr. for a while in the 4th underground cellar of one of the banks there and education on the evacuation procedures was a requirement.

Our kit wasn't very waterproof (even the watercooled stuff). The gold in the cellars under ours probably wouldn't be harmed too much. It had its own railway spur line and strengthened lifts available in case of an evacuation. Incidentally, in one cellar there was an unpopulated miltary barracks, presumably there ready to protect the gold in case the Lichtensteiner army invaded us.

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News just in from 563 AD

I'd heard the Swiss were quite laid back, but that's taking it a bit far. I wonder when they'll publicise the Army Knife, it's only been around for 120 years...

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Re: News just in from 563 AD

It's basically a wave, how fast do you expect it to be moving?

Granted it's fairly unlikely to happen this month, can anything be done? Dig up the silt and put it somewhere else, maybe use it to buttress the Canary Islands if we're not going to dismantle those. Bearing in mind that it isn't just what's above the ocean surface - that is just the tip of a whopping huge volcano standing on the sea bed, far far below, and it's when you have a landslide of the whole lot all the way down that the eastern coast of America gets flooded - oh, and when there's a really big storm like this week's Hurricane Sandy, of course.

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Re: News just in from 563 AD

Open ocean tsunami waves move VERY fast (100s of km/hr) . What happens in lakes I don't know - where did the figure of ~1hrs notice come from for Geneva ?

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Re: News just in from 563 AD

I got the 1 hour notice figure from the Australian ABC article which quotes the researchers as saying "Our numerical simulations with a shallow water model show that delta collapse in the lake generates a large tsunami at various locations along the shore, where a wave of 13 metres is observed after only 15 minutes, and at Geneva where a wave of eight metres arrives 70 minutes after the mass movement is initiated".

I allowed 10 minutes for sensors to detect and identify the moving wave and start the alert system, leaving 60 minutes for evacuation.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/10/29/3620543.htm

p.s. I didn't look at the Nature article myself because it's behind a paywall.

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One hour

Lake Geneva is 45 miles long, that means the tsunami moves at 45 mph, which does seem rather slow. Perhaps it stops off half way round for a little snooze.

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Trollface

Re: One hour

Well, it is in the French half of the country, not the hard-working German bit.

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