Scientist warns UK could be hit by ‘mega tsunami at any time’

An expert has warned a gigantic tsunami could hit Britain “at any time”, demolishing coastal towns and cities in its path and killing millions. Sir David King, who worked as Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government for seven years, said the wave could be brought on by a major landslide in the Canary Islands. He said the landslide could drag a land mass the size of the Isle of Man into the Atlantic Ocean, sending a tsunami several metres high tumbling to the British Isles. 

As the wave hurtles inland as far as London, areas including Brighton, Southampton, Bournemouth, Exeter and Portsmouth would vanish.

After the landslide, people would have several hours to evacuate but not enough to prevent catastrophe as city roads would clog up with people trying to escape, explained Sir David.

He told MyLondon: “After the landslide in the Canary Islands, it would take roughly six hours for the wave to reach the UK.

“That might sound like a long time to give people to escape, but there are other places where people had longer to flee yet many people still died.

“What would happen in London is that everyone would get into their cars all at once to escape the city and they’d block all the roads.

“People wouldn’t be able to get out in time and they would essentially die in their cars.”

The former Professor of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia compared what would happen in London to what happened in Lisbon in 1755. The Portuguese capital was smashed by a wave reaching as high as 10 metres after a 8.5 and 9 magnitude earthquake. The tragedy left 100,000 dead.

He warned the tsunami “could happen in 10,000 years time, but it could also happen tomorrow”.

Despite London having miles of land between it and the sea, it would still suffer all sorts of havoc.

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Sir David explained: “In the case of tsunamis, the shallower the waters are, the larger the wave will get. Once the tsunami passes through the English Channel and into the Thames Estuary, it will grow in size and cause all sorts of destruction in the city.”

As well as ripping apart thousands of homes and killing a significant amount of people, the scientist warns it would result in further ecological problems.

He added: “Salt water coming in from the sea could contaminate some fresh water reserves that Londoners use. There would be some ecological damage to wildlife too.

“On that note, the salt water would also saturate the soil around London.

“The change in salinity levels would mean farmers wouldn’t be able to grow crops in the area for many years afterwards, as has been seen in other tsunami-affected regions.”

Sir David proposed a solution to protect London from a catastrophic flood like this.

He recommended building two asymmetrical islands in the Thames Estuary to absorb the impact of a tsunami before the wave reaches the city.

He said: “We’ve seen cities do this elsewhere in the world, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. There would be a canal that passes between the two islands to allow ships to pass, but the islands themselves would take most of the impact of the wave and prevent it going up the Thames, saving thousands if not millions of lives.”

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