Tsunami hits Miyako City, Japan Photo by: Jiji Press/Getty

Irish tsunami 'quite possible' warns experts after earthquake


Tsunami hits Miyako City, Japan Photo by: Jiji Press/Getty

Following a minor earthquake in Donegal last week, experts are saying that Ireland is also now susceptible to tsunamis.

According to Journal.ie, the Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) has said that earthquakes "happen continually" in Ireland and that tsunamis are "quite possible."

On November 1, 1755, the Great Lisbon Earthquake was felt in Cork. Two-and-a-half-hours later a tsunami engulfed the coast of Cork.

There are now two areas in Ireland where major faulting occurs - Donegal and Wexford, claims Tom Blake, the director of the organization.

Last week's earthquake in Donegal measured 2.2 on the Richter Scale, which Blake advised was "normal" in terms of seismicity in the area.

More powerful earthquakes have been experienced in the Irish Sea with “bangs” measuring about magnitude 5 being relatively common. On 19 July 1984, an earthquake hitting 5.4 on the Richter Scale hit the Irish Sea causing some structural damage on the east coast.

Blake said this can be expected to happen every 25 to 30 years, but added that no seismologist in the world can accurately predict quakes.

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Folklore from before the 1800s shows that earthquakes in Ireland are not a new phenomenon.

“The writings of various peoples from the past show there are indications of people writing down effects of earthquakes. In the Mallow area, there are depictions of the earth shaking and crockery rattling during events of the 1800s. This folklore give us an insight into the past activity onshore and offshore Ireland,” explains Blake.

Earthquakes in Ireland occur not with plate movement but with a buildup of stress and tension on the rocks. The pressure becomes too much and is released, manifesting as an earthquake.

The nearest plate boundary to Ireland is the Mid-Altantic Ridge about 2,500km off the west coast. It is unlikely that an earthquake there would cause a huge problem for Ireland – unless, of course, a massive tidal wave occurs.

The Lisbon earthquake could well be repeated, “Nobody was killed, thank goodness,” exclaims Blake, “But it does raise an interesting topic about monitoring seismicity around the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay.”

Blake claimes that if the event is strong enough and shallow enough, another tsunami is “quite possible."


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