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China: an enormous tsunami in 1076 has given cause for concern

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Researchers warn authorities about planning projects on the Chinese coastline which is an extremely populated area.  A major tsunami that reportedly hit the southern coast of the country in 1076  has given them cause for concern.

A drastic cultural decline

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and the East China Normal University believe that the Guangdong province was struck by a significant tsunami around 1076 causing severe damage.  According to lead authors of the study which appeared in the Chinese Science Bulletin on the 7 December 2018, this tsunami caused a drastic cultural decline in China which took around five centuries before it could recover from the damage.

Researchers believe that this tsunami was caused by an earthquake in the Manila Trench which is located to the west of the Philippines in the South China Ocean. Since 2013 leaders of the study have been working on a possible palaeo-tsunami concerning the Paracel Islands, and more precisely the Island of Dongdao. Sediments and biological substances were found which proved that a significant tsunami occurred about 1000 years ago in the South China Sea. This study also showed the existence of large rocks and coral, which were deposited on this island far from the coastline which would have been impossible without a massive wave.

Southern China is a risky area

The Guangdong province is a coastal area where some cities like Xiamen and Quanzhou are located but in particular the famous megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta including Hong Kong, Macao, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Dongguan, as well as Guangzhou (Canton).  This sprawling urban area that has a total population of roughly 100 million inhabitants.

Megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta (Guangdong Province), One of the most populated regions in the world. 
Credits : Wikipedia

Nuclear power plants are also located in this region, such as Fuqing and Daya Bay. Taishan, a new reactor is expected to be commissioned soon. However, since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, the vulnerability of nuclear power plants during seismic events is a key issue. These concerns include tsunamis in the case of coastal power plants.  Researchers who discovered traces of the 1076 tsunami warn Chinese authorities against planning projects on this coastline, which is considered highly sensitive

Sources : CNNPhys.orgFutura Sciences

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