UK Scientists Investigate Submarine Landslides in Greenland and Norwegian Seas

A team of UK scientists is sailing to the site of prehistoric underwater landslides near the Arctic Circle.  The scientists are aboard the Dutch research ship RV Pelagia to investigate massive submarine landslides that have occurred in the Greenland and Norwegian Seas.

Landslide events within the ocean can be far larger than those on land and can generate damaging tsunami.

Scientists from a UK consortium led by the National Oceanography Centre that includes the British Geological Survey and the universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Manchester, Southampton, Ulster and Imperial College will be collecting sediment cores from the deposits of submarine landslides.

Around 8,200 years ago the Storegga Landslide off the coast of Norway moved a huge mass of material equivalent to burying an area the size of Scotland under 260ft of sediment. It is thought to have generated a tsunami that inundated Mesolithic human settlements living at that time on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea.

Dr Pete Talling who is leading the expedition explains: “These sediment cores will help us to estimate the emplacement ages of large submarine landslides and the frequency of such events, thus providing  important evidence to assess tsunami risks to the UK. It will also help to reconstruct landslide emplacement processes and hence the magnitude of resulting tsunamis.”

Press Release, July 17, 2014

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