Ancient Greek Historian Herodotus wrote about a tsunami wave that saved a region close to Thessaloniki, called Nea Potidea, from the Persian invaders in 479 BC. The enemy vanished because of “God Poseidon’s will,” according to the historian.
“There came a great ebb of the sea behind, which lasted for a long time. And then, a great flood-tide came sweeping, higher than ever before, as the locals say, though high tides come often,” wrote Herodotus. The Persians drowned and the town was free again.
Professor Klaus Reicherter from the Aachen University of Germany and a group of scientists conducted a research project in the area, and the findings confirm the story of Herodotus.
“This is historical stuff, but you have to interpret it in a scientific way,” said Reicherter.
Sediments in the area showed signs of massive marine events, similar to large waves. Archaeologists have also discovered sea shells covered by thick levels of soil, which could indicate a tsunami.
The German presented his research at the Annual Meeting of the Seismological Society of America (SSA) on April 19 in San Diego. According to the scientific team, there is no doubt that the tsunami occurred back in the 5th century BC. The team suggested that the Greek seismologists include the Thermaikos Gulf, where New Potidea is located, in the tsunami prone regions of Greece.
Taking into account the dense population of the region, as well as the amount of the tourists visiting this place, Reicherter said “we wanted to see if these historical accounts are correct and then try to get an assessment of the coastal areas,” asking, “are they safe or not?”