A new study looking into what parts of Malta would be impacted if a tsunami were to hit the islands has shown some bad news for towns on the east coast.
Populated areas all the way from Marsaxlokk to Mellieħa would be severely affected by the tsunami when scientists ran multiple computer simulations.
The localities that would be worst hit would be the low-lying areas in places like Marsascala, Birżebbuġa, Msida, Gżira, Salini, Xemxija and Mellieħa.
Considering that most of Malta’s infrastructure is on the eastern coast, including both residential areas as well as touristic areas, Malta was seen to be “highly exposed” to a potential tsunami.
“Our study demonstrates that there is a potential tsunami hazard for Malta,” scientists who conducted the study said following the results.
“Future studies should focus on achieving a better understanding of the source mechanisms, for example by mapping and understanding submarine landslides around the Maltese Islands, and carrying out a probabilistic inundation hazard and risk assessment.”
The scientists, who form a part of the Marine Geology and Seafloor Surveying group within the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta, teamed up with and scientists from GNS Science in New Zealand to conduct this experiment.
The simulations discovered the weak points of the Maltese island, as well as potential hazards, were a tsunami to hit the island.
The four computer simulations used two underwater earthquakes off both Sicily and Greece, similar to previous natural disasters that had occurred in 365 AD near Greece and 1693 in south-east Sicily, as well as two underwater landslides that occurred offshore in Malta and Sicily.
However, a tsunami of this type is considered rare, with it only occurring once every 5,000 to 50,000 years.
The simulations come following reports that Mount Etna is at risk of collapsing and causing a massive tsunami that could potentially hit Malta in recent years.
Reports about slow movements at ground level as well as below the water level could escalate and cause part of Europe’s largest active volcano to come crashing down into the Mediterranean Sea, triggering a gigantic wave that would put islands like Sicily and Malta at risk.