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Abstract

Tsunami present a significant geohazard to coastal and water-body marginal communities worldwide. Tsunami, a Japanese word, describes a series of waves that, once generated, travel across open water with exceptionally long wavelengths and with very high velocities before shortening and slowing on arrival at a coastal zone. Upon reaching land, these waves can have a devastating effect on the people and infrastructure in those environments. With over 12 000 km of coastline, the British Isles is vulnerable to the tsunami hazard. A significant number of potential tsunami source areas are present around the entire landmass, from plate tectonic boundaries off the Iberian Peninsula to the major submarine landslides in the northern North Sea to more localized coastal cliff instability which again has the potential to generate a tsunami. Tsunami can be generated through a variety of mechanisms including the sudden displacement of the sea floor in a seismic event as well as submarine and onshore landslides displacing a mass of water. This review presents those impacts together with a summary of tsunami triggers and UK case histories from the known historic catalogue. Currently, apart from some very sensitive installations, there is very little in the UK in the way of tsunami management and mitigation strategies. A situation that should be urgently addressed both on a local and national level.

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