The 1607 Flood   A tsunami in the Bristol Channel? Presentation to the School of Environment and Technology, University of...
My co-author: Dr Ted Bryant 2001, Cambridge University Press
From Allen and Haslett (2002)  The Holocene .
 
Evidence of the 1607 flood 1 <ul><li>Contemporary historic pamphlets giving the: </li></ul><ul><li>date (20 th  Jan 1606 =...
Burnham 1607 tides (HW at 8.28am) Source: www.easytide.co.uk
 
Evidence of the 1607 flood 2 <ul><li>Commemorative plaques and inscriptions in/on churches in South Wales and Somerset. </...
Evidence of the 1607 flood 2 Redwick Church, Gwent
 
Tsunami theory for the 1607 flood <ul><li>Some contradictory meteorological reports </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. “a violent sea ...
Extracts from  Lamentable Newes out of Monmouthshire Wave velocity Inland Penetration
Tsunami theory (cont.) <ul><li>Enigmatic physical features: </li></ul><ul><li>Sand layers possibly deposited by “storms” (...
 
Testing the tsunami theory: The 2004 Field Season <ul><li>Visit key locations mentioned in the pamphlets and gain backgrou...
Sampling the Rumney sand layer
Measuring boulder dimensions at Dunraven Bay
Source: www.bbc.co.uk
Photo: Tristan Marshall
Photo: Tristan Marshall
Photo: Tristan Marshall
Photo: Tristan Marshall
Photo: Tristan Marshall
Source: www.usgs.gov
Source: www.usgs.gov
Source: www.usgs.gov
Viewer’s letters examples <ul><li>2.8 million viewers watched the 1 st  April broadcast (5 million now for all broadcasts)...
Hypothesised tsunami and storm wave heights throughout Bristol Channel. Some of the largest boulders are being moved at th...
The required tsunami wave heights are plotted here. Tsunami fit the pattern of boulder size better than storm waves (from ...
Romney Wharf Dunraven Bay, Wales
Dunraven Bay Imbricated Boulder train Unsorted cliff fall Theorised 1607  cliffline Boulder lag Dunraven Bay, Wales (from ...
<ul><li>Kevin Horsburgh (2005,  BBC2 Timewatch ) back-modelled from the amount of flood water to establish that sustained ...
Critics of the tsunami theory <ul><li>Bill McGuire (2005,  New Scientist ) “The damage … could equally well have been caus...
Cause of a possible tsunami <ul><li>Submarine landslide off the continental slope west of the British Isles: our preferred...
GEBCO Bathymetry Source: GEBCO Source: Smith & Dawson (1990)  New Scientist  Magazine
Earthquake hypothesis <ul><li>Professor Michael Disney (Cardiff University) published in  The Times  and  Western Mail  (5...
From McGuire (2005, New Scientist) Source:  New Scientist  (2005)
Conclusions <ul><li>Results of field and laboratory work have been written and are published. </li></ul><ul><li>Also a rev...
Our Publications <ul><li>Bryant, E. A., & Haslett, S. K., 2003. Was the AD 1607 coastal flooding event in the Severn Estua...
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The 1607 Flood: A Tsunami in the Bristol Channel?

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An invited presentation by Professor Simon Haslett to the School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, on Thursday 11th March 2010 and introduced by Professor Andy Cundy. Simon Haslett is Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Wales, Newport.

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The 1607 Flood: A Tsunami in the Bristol Channel?

  1. 1. The 1607 Flood A tsunami in the Bristol Channel? Presentation to the School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, 11 th March 2010. Professor Simon Haslett University of Wales, Newport With Dr Ted Bryant, University of Wollongong
  2. 2. My co-author: Dr Ted Bryant 2001, Cambridge University Press
  3. 3. From Allen and Haslett (2002) The Holocene .
  4. 5. Evidence of the 1607 flood 1 <ul><li>Contemporary historic pamphlets giving the: </li></ul><ul><li>date (20 th Jan 1606 = 30 th Jan 1607) </li></ul><ul><li>timing (“about nine in the morning” in Somerset) </li></ul><ul><li>details of damage (2000 deaths and great economic loss). </li></ul>
  5. 6. Burnham 1607 tides (HW at 8.28am) Source: www.easytide.co.uk
  6. 8. Evidence of the 1607 flood 2 <ul><li>Commemorative plaques and inscriptions in/on churches in South Wales and Somerset. </li></ul>
  7. 9. Evidence of the 1607 flood 2 Redwick Church, Gwent
  8. 11. Tsunami theory for the 1607 flood <ul><li>Some contradictory meteorological reports </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. “a violent sea wind” (Camden, 1607) vs. “the morning … so fayrely and brightly spred” (Harleian Miscellany, 1607). </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptions of a “wave” reminiscent of a tsunami rather than a storm e.g. “wave’s furie”. </li></ul><ul><li>Extract from God’s warning to his people of England </li></ul>
  9. 12. Extracts from Lamentable Newes out of Monmouthshire Wave velocity Inland Penetration
  10. 13. Tsunami theory (cont.) <ul><li>Enigmatic physical features: </li></ul><ul><li>Sand layers possibly deposited by “storms” (e.g. Rumney and Hill; Allen, 1987, 1992). </li></ul><ul><li>Erosion of nearly all contemporary salt-marsh in the Severn Estuary (Allen, 1987). </li></ul><ul><li>Land erosion (e.g. English Stones, Gravel Banks and Oldbury, where seabanks were reset in the early C17th when “environmental change forced a substantial south-easterly retreat of the edge of the alluvial outcrop”, Allen & Fulford, 1992, pp. 96-97). </li></ul>
  11. 15. Testing the tsunami theory: The 2004 Field Season <ul><li>Visit key locations mentioned in the pamphlets and gain background detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Examine coastal landscapes and sample sedimentary sequences for tsunami signatures (e.g. Bryant, 2001). </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate enigmatic sites identified by Bryant & Haslett (2002) e.g. Rumney, Hill, Oldbury and collect samples. </li></ul><ul><li>Undertake laboratory analysis of samples. </li></ul>
  12. 16. Sampling the Rumney sand layer
  13. 17. Measuring boulder dimensions at Dunraven Bay
  14. 18. Source: www.bbc.co.uk
  15. 19. Photo: Tristan Marshall
  16. 20. Photo: Tristan Marshall
  17. 21. Photo: Tristan Marshall
  18. 22. Photo: Tristan Marshall
  19. 23. Photo: Tristan Marshall
  20. 24. Source: www.usgs.gov
  21. 25. Source: www.usgs.gov
  22. 26. Source: www.usgs.gov
  23. 27. Viewer’s letters examples <ul><li>2.8 million viewers watched the 1 st April broadcast (5 million now for all broadcasts)! </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of letters and emails received. </li></ul><ul><li>Location of gravestones of 1607 victims. </li></ul><ul><li>Location of a mass grave of 1607 victims. </li></ul><ul><li>Other tsunami-like waves experienced in the Bristol Channel (on fine days). </li></ul><ul><li>Locations of unpublished sand layers. </li></ul><ul><li>Forgotten historic documents (maps, parish records, etc). </li></ul><ul><li>Other academics initiating research in the area. </li></ul><ul><li>Offers of help in the field! </li></ul>
  24. 28. Hypothesised tsunami and storm wave heights throughout Bristol Channel. Some of the largest boulders are being moved at the mouth of the Severn Estuary. They require storm wave heights up to 7 times the 50-yr return period of maximum storm waves (from Bryant & Haslett, 2007, J. Geol. ).
  25. 29. The required tsunami wave heights are plotted here. Tsunami fit the pattern of boulder size better than storm waves (from Bryant & Haslett, 2007, J. Geol. ).
  26. 30. Romney Wharf Dunraven Bay, Wales
  27. 31. Dunraven Bay Imbricated Boulder train Unsorted cliff fall Theorised 1607 cliffline Boulder lag Dunraven Bay, Wales (from Bryant and Haslett, 2007, J. Geol. )
  28. 32. <ul><li>Kevin Horsburgh (2005, BBC2 Timewatch ) back-modelled from the amount of flood water to establish that sustained “80 mph” winds were required. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a Force 12 (category 1) hurricane! </li></ul><ul><li>There are no accounts of wind damage. </li></ul><ul><li>The 1987 storm was Force 11. </li></ul><ul><li>15 million trees were felled in 1987. </li></ul>Critics of the tsunami theory
  29. 33. Critics of the tsunami theory <ul><li>Bill McGuire (2005, New Scientist ) “The damage … could equally well have been caused by a severe storm surge, such as the one produced by Hurricane Katrina” (22 nd Oct, p. 41). </li></ul>Source: New Scientist magazine
  30. 34. Cause of a possible tsunami <ul><li>Submarine landslide off the continental slope west of the British Isles: our preferred cause, but discounted by others. </li></ul><ul><li>Earthquake: Roger Musson, BGS (2005, BBC2 Timewatch ), favours activity along a fault off south-west Ireland, which Bill McGuire (2005, New Scientist ) highlights. </li></ul><ul><li>Volcanic eruption/comet impact possible? </li></ul>
  31. 35. GEBCO Bathymetry Source: GEBCO Source: Smith & Dawson (1990) New Scientist Magazine
  32. 36. Earthquake hypothesis <ul><li>Professor Michael Disney (Cardiff University) published in The Times and Western Mail (5 th Jan 2005): </li></ul><ul><li>“ The sky was blue, the tide was high, there is a second-hand report of an earth tremor felt earlier that morning”. </li></ul>Source: Western Mail newspaper.
  33. 37. From McGuire (2005, New Scientist) Source: New Scientist (2005)
  34. 38. Conclusions <ul><li>Results of field and laboratory work have been written and are published. </li></ul><ul><li>Also a review of new and previously published anomalous deposits in southern Ireland, Brittany and Cornwall has been published. </li></ul><ul><li>However, although adding to the debate, it is my own view that these data do not enable us to differentiate conclusively the cause of the 1607 flood: between a storm surge or tsunami? </li></ul><ul><li>Although a DEFRA Report in 2005 discounted our tsunami theory for the 1607 flood, they do concede that fault zones offshore SW Britain do have the potential to create tsunami. </li></ul>
  35. 39. Our Publications <ul><li>Bryant, E. A., & Haslett, S. K., 2003. Was the AD 1607 coastal flooding event in the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel (UK) due to a tsunami? Archaeology in the Severn Estuary , 13 (for 2002), 163-167. </li></ul><ul><li>Haslett, S. K., & Bryant, E. A., 2005. The AD 1607 coastal flood in the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary: historical records from Devon and Cornwall. Archaeology in the Severn Estuary , 15 (for 2004), 81-89. </li></ul><ul><li>Bryant, E. A., & Haslett, S. K., 2007. Catastrophic wave erosion, Bristol Channel, United Kingdom: impact of tsunami? Journal of Geology , 115 , 253-269. </li></ul><ul><li>www.bathspa.ac.uk search ‘tsunami’. </li></ul><ul><li>THANKS TO: </li></ul>

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