Lake Geneva risks being hit by tsunami

2012-10-31 03:52:02 GMT2012-10-31 11:52:02(Beijing Time)
File Photo: Lake GenevaFile Photo: Lake Geneva
File Photo: Lake GenevaFile Photo: Lake Geneva
File Photo: Lake GenevaFile Photo: Lake Geneva

By Yuan Yue, Sina English

Lake Geneva is at risk, for a giant tsunami could possibly hit the Swiss metropolis in the future, scientists say.

Researchers analysed sediment at the bottom of Lake Geneva and uncovered “one big mass of sediment that was deposited in one event,” said Katrina Kremer, an environmental scientist at the University of Geneva who co-authored the study, published in Nature Geoscience.

An Alpine rock fall on the Rhone delta, 70km from Geneva, would have displaced enough water to cause a tsunami – an event researchers estimate to have occurred around 563 AD.

The tsunami would have travelled to Geneva in less than 70 minutes and flooded the city with eight-metre waves, destroying villages and the Geneva Bridge, and causing loss of life and livestock.

The city of Geneva is particularly vulnerable due to its low-lying position relative to the water’s surface and its location at the tip of the funnel-shaped lake – something that can amplify the size of a wave.

“We, as geologists, know that these kinds of mass movements are possible and can create tsunamis, but most people don’t. I think that the important thing is to show that this can happen,” said Kremer.


Editor: Yuan Yue
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