Poseidon's Ancient Wrath? Probably a Tsunami

Mythical event confirmed by modern seismologists
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2012 1:06 PM CDT
Poseidon's Ancient Wrath? Probably a Tsunami
The tsunami probably looked a lot like this 1893 painting of Poseidon by Walter Crane. You know, without the magic water horses.   (Wikimedia)

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.)

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