A CHINESE study has revealed a huge tsunami hit its coasts 1,000 years ago – and there’s a threat another could strike again at any time.
Scientists uncovered evidence to prove a giant wave nearly wiped out civilisations on the south coast, raising questions about the vulnerability of the area today.
The study found an area including what is now the Guangdong and Hainan provinces in China and parts of Thailand were hit 1,000 years ago by a tsunami so large it took 500 years for civilisation to recover.
Academics who carried out the study have called for the government to up its future tsunami planning, as there’s nothing stopping the natural disaster from reoccurring.
In the January issue of Chinese Science Bulletin, researchers wrote: “This study confirms the risk of tsunamis in the South China Sea.
“Such risks should be considered in future planning and construction of nuclear power plants, harbours and petroleum reserve structures on the coastlines of China.”
The study, undertaken over many years of field research, was done by a team at the University of Science and Technology of China and East China Normal University and led by Sun Liguang and Xie Zhouqing.
They concluded the tsunami originated in the South China Sea and hit the coast in AD1076.
Evidence of this giant wave was first discovered in 2013 on Dongdao island in the Xisha archipelago.
Corals and rocks had been buried in the seabed 200 metres from the shore, distances only a tsunami could have caused.
Pieces of ceramics from the Song dynasty (960-1279) were discovered in the tsunami deposit layers on Nanao Island, currently under the administration of Shantou city.
Around 15,000 ancient coins were also found in a shipwreck site near Nanao.
Researchers believe the tsunami was triggered by an earthquake on the Manila Trench.
These findings have encouraged the Chinese government to take action, including planning to build an early tsunami warning system.
A buoy was installed near the Manila Trench in the South China Sea last year which monitors tidal signals, notifying the defence department on land of any incoming tsunamis.
Fuqing Nuclear Power Company are also preparing by building a reactor in the coastal Fujian province that is “tsunami-proof”.
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General manager Chen Gucai said: “Our Hualong One nuclear reactor has a unique double-containment design.
“The inner shell mainly protects and seals off the entire protective building, ensuring that there will be no radioactive leakage in situations similar to the Fukushima disaster.
“The outer shell is robust enough to withstand the impact of an airliner.”
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