Evidence for Fogo’s flank failure causing 270m high megatsunami around 73K years ago

According to a new study published in the journal Science Advances, a massive 800 ft wave crashed into the Cape Verde Islands with immense force as many as 73,000 years back hurling huge boulders that according to the authors were almost as high as the Eiffel Tower.

In the study, researchers have described a colossal wave off the African coast, which according to them resulted from collapsing of the huge fragment of the volcanic island Fogo into the sea. The collapse sent huge quantity of gigantic rocks into water, which lead to creation of a super wave that at the beginning was 300 ft high and gradually gathered more height; eventually, it collided with a nearby island called Santiago.

The massive wave took very little time to cover the distance of 30 miles between the two islands before crashing onto Santiago. The slamming into Santiago the wave reached a height of 600 ft and with time it reached a height of 800 ft or possibly 900 ft above the sea level. Scientists involved in the study believe that the huge ancient wave sent gigantic boulders to the top of the island, where they are currently positioned.

Actually, the study’s lead author Ricardo Ramalho of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at the Columbia University decided to proceed with this study only after coming across those colossal boulders on the high plateau.

Ramalho first came across the feature way back in 2007 and it appeared significantly strange to him. He was surprised to see the boulders so high above the sea level. As a result, he along with a team of researchers started looking into it. During the past eight years of study, the team under Ramalho has gathered evidence supporting the fact that a megatsunami was responsible.

Ramalho and his colleagues first tried to find out how exactly the boulders reached their current location. A tsunami was always among the possible answers they thought about; however, they had it in their mind that the majority of the tsunamis affect regions with low elevation. This forced them to look at some of the adjacent islands, particularly Fogo, which is currently an active volcano located 4 miles above the sea level.