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Tsunamis destroyed home of Olympic Games

New research suggests that a series of tsunamis, not an earthquake, destroyed the birthplace of the Olympic Games 1500 years ago in ancient Greece.

Strong evidence for repeated tsunamis came from the presence of molluscs, snail shells and the remains of abundant foraminifera (marine protozoa). The sediments were transported inland at high speed and energy, reaching Olympia although the site lies some 108 feet above sea level.

“In earlier times, Olympia was not 22 kilometers (13.6 miles) away from the sea as it is today. Back then, the coastline was located eight or perhaps even more kilometers further inland,” said Vött.

In this scenario, tsunamis came in from the sea and rushed into the narrow valley of Alpheios, into which the Kladeos River flows, forcing their way over the saddles behind which Olympia is located.

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Story: Rissella Lorenzi, Discovery News | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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