Closing down
Room with a view

Head for the hills

Did I miss this story in the SCMP?  I found it in New Scientist:

Tsunami risk for Hong Kong and Macao

Hong Kong and Macao are enormous, sprawling economic centres perched on the coast. And both stand a 10 per cent chance of being hit by a serious tsunami in the next century, warn geophysicists. The warning follows a new assessment of how earthquakes along the nearby Manila trench could radiate tsunami waves across the South China Sea.

Although Chinese records of tsunamis date back to AD 171, the hazard was largely ignored until the cataclysmic Sumatra tsunami in 2004. However, the structure of the complex plate boundary on the eastern side of the South China Sea, running from Taiwan to the Manila trench, makes shallow subduction-related quakes particularly likely. This problem was highlighted by the quake in December 2006 that hobbled internet traffic in the region when it ripped through subsea data cables. Such earthquakes could also trigger tsunamis.

To assess the threat, Yingchun Liu of the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing developed a computer model with David Yuen's group at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. They identified the sites where major quakes were most likely, then modelled how the tsunamis they produced would spread and their heights as they reached major cities. Finally, they factored in the tsunami risks of all possible large quakes for each location.

They found that all coastal regions, stretching north from Macao and Hong Kong to beyond Shantou - a city of 1.2 million people where the tropic of Cancer crosses the Chinese coast - have about a 1-in-10 chance of being struck by a tsumani within 100 years (Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, vol 163, p 233).


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