Study finds Freo a hotspot for tsunamis

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

RE­SEARCH from the Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia has dis­cov­ered Fre­man­tle is a hotspot for me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal tsunamis.

UWA oceanog­ra­phers looked at sea level data and me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in Fre­man­tle dur­ing 2014, which showed Fre­man­tle had one of the high­est oc­cur­rences of me­teot­sunamis in the world.

Oceanog­ra­pher Charitha Pat­tiaratchi said 25 me­teot­sunamis oc­curred off the Fre­man­tle coast last year.

“Although most of the events were rel­a­tively small, sev­eral had wave heights of more than half a me­tre – larger than those recorded in Fre­man­tle dur­ing the In­dian Ocean Box­ing Day tsunami of 2004,” he said.

“Two events we stud­ied re­sulted in ships break­ing moor­ings in­side the Fre­man­tle Port, in­clud­ing an in­ci­dent in Au­gust 2014 where we dis­cov- ered the strong force of a me­teot­sunami had caused a large cargo ship to hit the Fre­man­tle Bridge, caus­ing dam­age to the bridge and re­sult­ing in it be­ing closed for two weeks.

“To put the force of these waves into per­spec­tive, a me­teot­sunami in June 2012 con­trib­uted to the high­est ever wa­ter level recorded in Fre­man­tle in more than 115 years and wide­spread flood­ing along River­side Drive and the Kwinana Free­way,” Mr Pat­tiaratchi said.

The re­search was pub­lished in the Philo­soph­i­cal Trans­ac­tions of the Royal So­ci­ety Lon­don jour­nal.

Twenty-five me­teot­sunamis oc­curred off the Fre­man­tle coast last year, ac­cord­ing to oceanog­ra­pher Charitha Pat­tiaratchi.

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