Herodotus tells it this way: As the Persians were charging toward a Greek town, the sea receded, and then mighty Poseidon sent a crushing wave down upon them, a "great flood-tide of the sea, higher than ever before." Now, modern scientists have found evidence that it actually happened, Live Science reports: Herodotus was describing a tsunami, a researcher from the Seismological Society of America posited in a presentation yesterday.
Researchers visited the area Herodotus described, and found layers of earth carried far inland, apparently by the tsunami. They dated shells found within the sand, and "they fit quite nicely," one researcher says, dating to around 500 BC; the event occurred in 479 BC. Moreover, the area is geologically prone to tsunamis, with a nearby colossal seafloor basin capable of producing waves up to 16 feet tall. "This is historical stuff," the researcher says, "but you have to interpret it in a scientific way." (Read more Herodotus stories.)