An anonymous reader writes "Research on the Greek island of Crete suggests that one of Europe's earliest civilisation [Alantis], which flourished until about 3,500 years ago, was destroyed by a giant tsunami.
From the article:
"The ancient Minoans were building palaces, paved streets and sewers, while most Europeans were still living in primitive huts.
But around 1500BC the people who spawned the myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth abruptly disappeared. Now the mystery of their cataclysmic end may finally have been solved.
A group of scientists have uncovered new evidence that the island of Crete was hit by a massive tsunami at the same time that Minoan culture disappeared.
"The geo-archaeological deposits contain a number of distinct tsunami signatures," says Dutch-born geologist Professor Hendrik Bruins of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
"Minoan building material, pottery and cups along with food residue such as isolated animal bones were mixed up with rounded beach pebbles and sea shells and microscopic marine fauna.
"The latter can only have been scooped up from the sea-bed by one mechanism — a powerful tsunami, dumping all these materials together in a destructive swoop," says Professor Bruins.
The deposits are up to seven metres above sea level, well above the normal reach of storm waves.
"An event of ferocious force hit the coast of Crete and this wasn't just a Mediterranean storm," says Professor Bruins.
The wave would have been as powerful as the one that devastated the coastlines of Thailand and Sri Lanka on Boxing day 2004 leading to the loss of over 250,000 lives.
But if this evidence is so clear why has it not been discovered before now?
Tsunami expert Costas Synolakis, from the University of Southern California, says that the study of ancient tsunamis is in its infancy and people have not, until now, really known what to look for."