IN 563AD a tsunami devastated Geneva. Two accounts of the disaster, one by Gregory of Tours and the other by Marius of Avenches, have survived. What caused the wave, and the extent of the damage that resulted, have been matters of conjecture for centuries. But over the past decade several groups of scientists have pieced together the sequence of events and one of those groups, led by Katrina Kremer of the University of Geneva, has now created a computer model of what happened. Unfortunately for the 1m people who live around the lake’s shore, the conclusion of this research is that something similar could easily happen again.
This article first appeared in the Economist on 3 November 2012. To continue reading click here.
The following is a simulation of something similar that happened on Lake Tahoe 40,000 years ago.