Landslide tsunami lessons from Anak Krakatau

A volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Supervolcanoes are among the natural threats that could kill humans. Sutanta Aditya/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Full story:

100 years of upheaval and resilience through the eyes of Syrian artists

Abo Gabi looks away from the camera as he tells the story of how he came to be a refugee living in Nantes, France. His great-grandparents were Egyptian, he explains, but they moved to Palestine in the early 20th century, settled there and had children. Then came 1948 and the Naqba. They fled ­Palestine, travelling not back to Egypt but with the Palestinian community to which they now belonged.

They found a new home in Syria, in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, where Gabi was born. But the conflict in Syria precipitated a third wave of migration and Gabi was displaced twice more, moving first to Lebanon and then to France.

The musician and singer’s identity is complicated. He is Egyptian, Palestinian, ­Syrian. Soon, perhaps, he will be French. His personal and family history is one that is familiar to thousands of people across the Middle East. It is one of constant upheaval, of uprooting and adapting, of settling and surviving, of adopting new identities while retaining old memories…


Landslide tsunami lessons from Anak Krakatau

Just over a week ago, the Indonesian volcano Anak Krakatau blew its top, losing about two-thirds of its height.

Most of this 150m cubic metres of rock is thought to have slid into the sea in one go, generating a tsunami that killed more than 400 people. Tsunami warning systems are in place around Indonesia, but they are tailored to earthquake tsunamis, triggering only if an earthquake and large wave are detected.

“Recognising a landslide tsunami is much harder. The time between detection and the tsunami coming ashore is likely to be very short, so it is hard to make the system effective,” says Dave Petley, a landslide expert at the University of Sheffield.

Volcano flank collapses are common and can be gigantic: prehistoric landslides from the Canary Islands have been over 100bn cubic metres. They probably didn’t slide in one go, but there will still have been very large tsunami waves locally…

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