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15 December 2012
Ancient tsunami in the Caribbean

A detailed analysis of sediments from the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean presents convincing evidence for an extraordinary wave impact dating back some 3,300 years, suggesting this tsunami entirely changed the coastal ecosystem.
     Dr Max Engel, and colleagues from the University of Koln in Germany, investigated sediment cores from a coastal lagoon in Washington-Slagbaai National Park. They looked specifically at grain size distribution, carbonate content, organic matter, magnetic susceptibility and fauna. Their analyses showed that the sediments had criteria typically linked with tsunami deposits.
     The authors conclude in part: "This single catastrophic event is of long-term ecological significance. Formation of a barrier of coral rubble was triggered by the tsunami separating a former inland bay from the open sea and turning it into a highly saline lagoon which persists until today."

Edited from ScienceDaily (12 December 2012)

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