The world did not end of on 12/21/12 as some had predicted. Nevertheless, there are still a few things to worry about. Last week, marine geologists from Australia’s James Cook University warned that a one cubic kilometer slab of the sea floor on the Barrier Reef may be on the verge of collapsing. The slab, the remains of an ancient underwater landslide, is in danger of slipping off the continental shelf. If is does so, it may cause a tsunami. Of course, the researchers cannot say if the slab will slide off tomorrow or within the next century.
“Undersea landslides are a well understood geological process but we didn’t know there were any on the Barrier Reef,” geologist Robin Beaman told AFP.
“We found this one large block that stood out. It is sitting on top of a sub-marine canyon, cutting into the slopes and it is in the preliminary stage of collapse.”
He stressed that no one knew when a collapse may occur, “whether tomorrow or even in our lifetime”, but that people should be aware that it was there.
“It is slowly giving way although it remains stable under current conditions,” he said.
“But it is absolutely going to collapse and when it does fall it will fall one kilometre into the adjacent basin.
“This will generate a localised tsunami that will affect the Queensland coastline, which is around 70 kilometres (40 miles) away.