Marine archeologists discover evidence that a 40 meter (131 foot) high wall of water smashed into Israel.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A team of Israeli and American researchers published a report Wednesday showing they discovered that a “mega-tsunami” in the Mediterranean Sea smashed into Israel about 10,000 years ago with a wall of water 40 meters high.
The marine archaeologists and geologists from Haifa University and the University of California in San Diego dug though layers of earth at the site of the ancient settlement of Tel Dor on the Mediterranean coast just south of Haifa, finding evidence of the massive destruction they documented in a paper published on the PLOS ONE open access academic website.
The Mediterranean region is known as a very active earthquake zone. Recent strong quakes caused devastation in Turkey, Greece and Italy, with the most recent deadly tsunami being the 1908 earthquake and 12-meter (39-foot) high tsunami that killed some 80,000 people and almost completely destroyed the Italian cities of Messina and Reggio Calabria.
The team dug down and took core samples of the earth to a depth of nine meters, finding to their surprise evidence of sea sediment trapped in what should have been an exclusively fresh water layer. Other core samples gave the same evidence, showing that a tsunami must have traveled inland.
The team then had their eureka moment, realizing they appeared to have discovered the solution to the puzzle of why archaeologists had found no evidence of human settlement in the area for a long period of history – the tsunami had washed it all away.
“Early pre-pottery Neolithic sites were destroyed along the Carmel coast creating a [roughly] 4,000-year settlement gap in the Neolithic archaeological record for the area,” the report said.
The archaeological evidence pointed to a massive wall of water between 15 and 40 meters high sweeping far inland that destroyed existing human settlements. Researchers noted, however, that the strong continuity in settlement patterns during the rest of the Neolithic period indicate that major tsunami events did not significantly affect the settlements of the Carmel coast during the period following the Dor tsunami.
The researchers pointed out that tsunamis are frequent events in the eastern Mediterranean, occurring at a rate of around 10 events per century over the past 3,000 years in the Levant basin. While most events are small, evidence shows that one giant tsunami occurs about every 160 years.
The massive and deadly destructive power of tsunamis has been seen most recently in the 2011 Japan tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people and the ferocious 2004 tsunami that spread through the Indian Ocean, killing almost a quarter of a million people in 13 different countries and leaving tens of billions of dollars of damage in its wake.