Tuesday, 16 July 2013

As Peter Lilley said, "There is a thing called a telephone which has been recently invented....

... and most foreigners speak English."

From The Daily Mail:

A massive earthquake off Portugal could trigger a tsunami which would wipe out the Isles of Scilly and lay waste to the Cornish coast, scientists said today.

Experts say that much of the south-western British coast including outlying islands would be destroyed by a 10ft wall of water within four to six hours if there were to be a repeat of the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.

Fears of the natural disaster have been raised by the Devon and Cornwall Local Resilience Forum (LRF), which wants an early warning system like those used across Asia and America* to avoid a British version of the devastating 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.


Unless of course the members of the LRF think that the Portuguese are so spiteful they wouldn't ring up and tip us off.

* The early warning buoys are of course NOT "used across Asia and America", they are floating about in the Pacific Ocean. How they tether them to the ocean floor is another question..?

12 comments:

Graeme said...

a 6 hour warning window is not so very long to take precautions against a 10 foot high wall of water. It is hard to relocate a beachfront hotel in 6 hours for example, let alone a restaurant. You can get a fishing vessel or 2 out of the way, maybe.

The Stigler said...

I'm disappointed that the Mail didn't work out the total damage to housing from it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

G, agreed. They'll only be able to save less important stuff like people and Rembrandt paintings.

T, DM don't care about houses on Scilly Isles as they belong to that tax dodger, Prince Charles.

Bayard said...

"Experts say that much of the south-western British coast including outlying islands would be destroyed by a 10ft wall of water"

Have these "experts" ever been to the "south-western British coast"? Most of the bit that faces the Atlantic, i.e. which would take the wave head-on, is cliffs or steep hills behind beaches. Yes, a few houses would be damaged, but that's hardly the coast being "destroyed". The only places seriously at risk are the low-lying parts along the Bristol Channel and the Somerset Levels, as the wave will be increased in height as it is funnelled up the Channel. These are the bits that got hit badly, last time it happened in 1607.

DBC Reed said...

Its not getting people out of the way, its the fact that so many nuclear power stations are, of necessity, by the sea.

Bayard said...

DBC, yes but we know what happens when a nuclear reactor is hit by a tsunami and we know that no-one has died as a result. However, that is not to say that they shouldn't have plans in place for continuing to keep the plant under control when it is under ten feet of water. If we can have nuclear power plants in submarines, it can't be that difficult.

Physiocrat said...

So what was the damage in 1755?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B: "Have these "experts" ever been to the "south-western British coast"?"

Obviously not.

DBC, which is why our forefathers wisely didn't build any nukes along that bit of the south coast. I suspect the impact of the tsunami will have dissipated a bit by the time it reachers Dungeness (Kent) or has turned the corner and gone up the Severn Estuary right to the top where Hinkley Point is.

B, good point re submarines!

Ph, I was wondering about that, it can't have been much as there are plenty of old buildings in Cornwall.

DBC Reed said...

@MW
I think Henry is trying to draw your attention to the tsunami that swept up the Severn Estuary in 1755.

Physiocrat said...

A tsunami would build in height as it travelled up the Severn estuary - like a giant Severn bore.

It seems that there was damage in 1755 but the 1703 storm was worse.

Morgan Charles said...

The full tsunami story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunamis_affecting_the_British_Isles
The DM typically gets it wrong, it should be a 10m wave, not a 10ft one. I thought 10ft sounded a bit small to be kicking up a fuss about.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, Phys, fair points. Maybe they should build a better sea wall round Hinkley Point.