Canberra, Feb 4 : Archaeologists have rebuffed a theory by geological researchers that Australia has been subject to prehistoric mega-tsunamis up to 20 m in height over the past 10,000 years.
According to a report in The Australian, in 2003, geological researchers suggested that ancient tsunamis over the past 10,000 years were much larger than those recorded since European settlement.
This theory was based on findings of shell and coral deposits in a 2,500 km stretch of the WA (Western Australia) coast, supposedly caused due to tsunami surges up to 20m in height.
But now, archaeologists from the Australian National University (ANU) have rejected this theory, saying that deposits might be a result of Aboriginal occupation.
"Our field work would suggest that the shell and coral deposits found high on headlands in WA or further inland are evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the area, and not deposits of mega-tsunamis or other major inundations," said ANU researcher Dr Tony Barham.
As evidence in support of their claim, the research team found that archaeological deposits in the area have not been disturbed by major inundation for 1000 years, undermining the theory that giant waves had flooded the area once every 400 to 500 years.
According to Dr Barham, "These earlier theories about mega-tsunamis and their frequency have been quite influential in WA for the development of emergency service plans - but our research would suggest that they are not supported by the archaeological evidence."
"This is a great example of why solid archaeological research should be taken into account in the planning processes for future emergencies," he added.