Evidence of historical tsunami found

April 24, 2012 at 6:27 PM
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NEA POTIDEA, Greece, April 24 (UPI) -- Geological evidence suggests a tsunami described by the ancient historian Herodotus did indeed protect a Greek village from Persian invaders, scientists say.

Researchers from Aachen University in Germany said sediment on the northern Greek peninsula where the ancient village Potidea and the modern town of Nea Potidea are located shows signs of massive marine events such as large waves, evidence of tsunamis of the sort Herodotus said saved the village in 479 B.C., the BBC reported.

Herodotus wrote of huge waves that killed hundreds of Persian soldiers during their siege of the village.

"Then there came upon them [the Persians] a great flood-tide of the sea, higher than ever before, as the natives of the place say, though high tides come often," he wrote. "So those of them who could not swim perished, and those who could were slain by the men of Potidea who put out to them in boats."

The researchers said northern coastal regions should be included among the Greek regions prone to tsunamis, although it is usually the southern coast of Greece that is identified as a risk area.

"We have found several historic tsunamis on the coast," Aachen's Professor Klaus Reicherter said.

The researchers presented their findings at the annual conference of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego.

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