All  
The magnitude of the Storegga tsunami would have wiped out many modern Scottish cities. Source: Kevin Carden / Adobe Stock

8,000 Years Ago The Storegga Tsunami Shattered Scotland

Print

The three Storegga Slides are amongst the largest known submarine landslides in history. They occurred under water, at the edge of Norway's continental shelf in the Norwegian Sea, approximately 6225–6170 BC. Now, new research has charted the catastrophic surge and it appears that the Storegga tsunami 8,200 years ago would have consumed many Scottish cities.

Hit the Drama Button

Mark Bateman, professor of geography at the University of Sheffield, is the lead author of a recently published research  paper that suggests about 370 miles (595.46 km) of Scotland s northern and eastern coastline were affected when the Storegga tsunami struck around 8,200-years ago. In this instance you simply have to read the paper for yourself as the media are only presenting the dramatic part. For example, an article in  The Guardian  says “a modern-day disaster of the same magnitude would have worse consequences.” But with all the UK’s main cities being coastal, statements like that are just so obvious, and so, so Hollywood.

The Storegga tsunami. A. Location of slide causing tsunami and location of coastal sites where tsunami deposits have been reported and the estimated wave at those sites. Montrose Basin in eastern Scotland is shown as a red circle. B. Modelled tsunami wave gauge using modern bathymetry for eastern Scotland. C and D. Modelled tsunami wave map showing distribution of first and second major waves to hit Scotland. (Bateman et al. 2021)

The Storegga tsunami. A. Location of slide causing tsunami and location of coastal sites where tsunami deposits have been reported and the estimated wave at those sites. Montrose Basin in eastern Scotland is shown as a red circle. B. Modelled tsunami wave gauge using modern bathymetry for eastern Scotland. C and D. Modelled tsunami wave map showing distribution of first and second major waves to hit Scotland. ( Bateman et al. 2021 )

Most stories you will read take the ancient tsunami into today’s terms and speak of the dangers with having denserhuman populations. The new paper does indeed fuel this drama with statements like, “with today’s higher sea levels towns like Arbroath, Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Inverness and  Wick,” where I was brought up, “would have been destroyed.” The researchers also modeled how far the wave would have penetrated into Scotland’s interior, which the paper says was about 18 miles (29 km).

All Was Lost One Afternoon About 8,000-Years-Ago

Geologists agree that the  Storegga tsunami  is the largest  natural disaster  to have happened in the UK in the last 11,000 years. The vast wave was triggered by a series of three submarine landslides in the Norwegian Sea that caused the sinking of  Doggerland, the land bridge that linked Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Representation of the Mesolithic people of Doggerland dealing with rising sea levels. (Alexander Maleev)

Representation of the Mesolithic people of Doggerland dealing with rising sea levels. ( Alexander Maleev )

Now the southern North Sea, these rich hunting grounds were a pre-tsunami haven of forests and endless wild beats and resources. This single event had a severe impact on  Mesolithic populations  at that time, more so than anything else that the universe is known to have thrown at Earth in the last 10,000 years.

What we don’t get in the media presentation of the Storegga tsunami is how the surge might have affected forestry or future  agriculture, considering such a dump of minerals and algae. Rather, for example, the  BBC headlines with the “Terrible Destructive Tsunami” and we learn Montrose, “which overlooks a tidal lagoon and has a population of 12,000, would have been “completely devastated.”

Cutting Through the Theatricals to Find the Real Storegga Tsunami Story

Getting beyond all the drama, some pretty neat science was at play in this new study, like for example, “luminescence dating.” This technique measures the energy emitted after an object has been exposed to daylight and it was employed to date sediment and deposits from the Storegga tsunami  taken from Maryton,  Aberdeenshire. So accurate is this method of peering into the past the researchers were able to determine “the date, number and relative power of the waves,” according to the paper.

Sections sampled for tsunami sediments. A. Cliff exposed at edge of Montrose Basin near Maryton sample for luminescence. B. Small exposure at edge of Montrose Basin about 200 m further west also sampled for luminescence dating. C. Vertical sample through tsunami sand collected from (A) for further luminescence, particle size and ICP analysis. (Bateman et al. 2021)

Sections sampled for tsunami sediments. A. Cliff exposed at edge of Montrose Basin near Maryton sample for luminescence. B. Small exposure at edge of Montrose Basin about 200 m further west also sampled for luminescence dating. C. Vertical sample through tsunami sand collected from (A) for further luminescence, particle size and ICP analysis. ( Bateman et al. 2021 )

Professor Bateman wrote that similar deposits have been studied all along the eastern and northern coastline of Scotland, from around Berwick-upon-Tweed to Loch Eriboll, in Sutherland. What’s more, Bateman’s new research adds to a swelling database of  tsunami info  that will now be compared with data from the Norwegian coast north of Bergan, and research undertaken in Shetland and the Faroe Islands.

And the reason I am so clearly saddened by the mainstream media over this story, the Guardian and the BBC for example, is that they only mention that “THERE IS NO SIMILAR THREAT TODAY” from Norway. But not being able to stand a non-terrifying ending, “the UK is at risk from  flooding events  from other potential volcanic eruptions around the world,” according to the former of the two drama queens. Just read  the paper  yourselves.

Top Image: The magnitude of the Storegga tsunami would have wiped out many modern Scottish cities. Source:  Kevin Carden  / Adobe Stock

By Ashley Cowie

Comments

PiratesCut's picture

In August of 2003 I was on a metal detecting tour searching the farms and fields Sou’east of Norwich.

I wish I could remember the details of the exact location of one place we visited that to me seemed very strange in one regard. First some descriptive groundwork that may help someone recognize this place.

There was a beautiful yet rather short and low arched stone bridge which clearly had a strong steam or small river flowing under it at one time yet was now high and dry. 

The road over the bridge led to a large, very old farmhouse with a absolutely beautiful circular Church near-by. The narrow road leading up to the bridge curved around and under a small hill that had an enormous oak tree at its peak where two gold coins were found. The archaeologists on site with us from the British Museum and to whom which we had to turn over each and every find for cataloging explained to us that 800 – 1000 years ago the southside of this bridge had been a small harbor connected directly to the Ocean. The number and quality of finds in again what was described is a small trading Harbor was so great that it was earmarked for a proper archaeological dig at some point in the future. I myself found a rope swirl ring, open at the bottom and a friend of mine found a silver Thors hammer pendant that had swirls of gold inlay in it’s head which was seized as national treasure.

The point.…

If this was a saltwater harbor 800 or more years ago how is it that it is now it is high and dry and at least a couple of miles from the coast? All the experts talk about is sea level rise, sea level rise, sea level rise.

Well it didn't rise here, it dropped, bigtime!

Sea level rise dropped that much in the last 800 years?

How does this even begin to make sense? Again, I really wish I could give more exacting detail of where this place is so that maybe somebody could provide me a sensible answer.

As one avid commentor who is not me and almost always states…..."No one gets paid to tell the truth".

                           Respectfully

 

The media have become catastrophists. Disaster happens and we must be well aware of and prepared for this, but the media use the slightest mathematical possibility of a catastrophe like superstitious stories to frighten children and adults into behaving how the media want them to.

They call this 'science' but real science is generally too mundane and straight-laced for their purpose. Therefore, it must be cherry-picked and exaggerated to suit.

The BBC are Breathtakingly Brilliant Catastrophists. The moral Guardians of the human race are no better.

The irony is that, when actual potential danger doesn't suit their eco-political purpose, they talk of 'acceptable risk.'

What is or is not acceptable is for the media to decide, because the likes of democracy and theology must be filtered through them.

Next article