News FocusTsunami Research

Did Tsunamis Influence Polynesian History?

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Science  09 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6061, pp. 1342
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6061.1342

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The hunt for ancient tsunamis in the Pacific is turning up evidence of prehistoric catastrophes. In excavations on Futuna, the Cook Islands, and other Pacific isles over the past 15 years, researchers on several teams have found occupation layers—middens, cooking fire ash, animal bones, and shells—overlain by sand deposits left by tsunamis. They have also found signs that settlements moved inland and uphill, possibly returning to shore later.