Potentially deadly tsunamis threaten the Caribbean

We have long known that the islands of the Caribbean have been threatened with the event of earthqauakes. The threat having made itself remembered with the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti only three years ago. But now, scientists are reminding us that we face another threat brought on by the number of tectonic plates shifting under our very feet, that of tsunamis.


A slightly exotic thought to the Caribbean mind, as tsunamis are often thought of as a far-away phenomena heard about on the news as it happened in some distant country. But historical accounts show that more than 3,500 people have been killed in tsunamis that struck the Caribbean between 1842 and 2010, which is higher than the 579 dead in tsunamis over the same time frame in the more traditionally tsunami-prone areas of the eastern Pacific.

The studies were presented by a group of scientists at an American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting held recently. The group attributed the danger to the risk of underwater tsunamis triggered by strike-slip earthquakes. Haiti sits on one such fault, where the tectonic plates slide along each other's sides.

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