Waves of Destruction
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More than 8,000 years ago, Storeggaslide, a massive underwater landslide off western Norway, created towering waves of up to 65 feet that destroyed many coastal communities in northern Europe.
The mega-tsunami devastated parts of northern Europe and contributed to a major decline in Stone Age Britain’s population, the Independent reported.
This geological upheaval took place during a period when northern Britain was already experiencing a dip in its population, estimated by previous studies at about only 1,000 people.
During the same period, many sites across northwestern Europe were also being abandoned because of a rapid and sustained drop in temperatures.
But University of York researchers wrote in a new paper that the Storegga event was one of the main causes of that population crash after conducting a series of computer simulations on the mega-tsunami.
Their findings suggested that sediment deposits from the prehistoric site of Howick, north of Newcastle, were likely formed by the tsunami – although only if the waves struck during high tide.
The destruction would have caused a high number of fatalities and damaged key resources that the ancient inhabitants needed to survive.
The authors conclude that it’s unlikely that Stone Age Britons, lacking any experience or awareness of tsunamis, would have been as resilient as fishing societies in tsunami-prone regions like the northern Pacific, who often relocate to higher ground when faced with such threats.