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Melting ice caps can lead to devastating tsunamis

world Updated: Aug 19, 2013 00:08 IST
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A new study suggests that the melting ice caps can trigger tsunamis.

The research suggests that if melting ice caps trigger rapid sea level rise, the strain that the edges of continents could experience might set off underwater landslides, Discovery News reported.

Submarine landslides happen every continental margin, the underwater parts of continental plates bordering oceanic plates.

These underwater avalanches, which can happen when underwater slopes get hit by earthquakes or otherwise have too much weight loaded onto them, can generate dangerous tsunamis.

A staggering half of all the earth moved by submarine landslides over the past 125,000 years apparently happened between 8,000 and 15,000 years ago.

Since these prehistoric disasters coincided with changes in climate, previous research suggested natural global warming might have been their cause, but what exactly the link might be was unclear. The sea level rise that happened between 8,000 and 15,000 years ago was due to melting ice caps.

These glaciers placed weight on the planet’s rocky surface, building stress on faults in the Earth for millennia.