A recent Reuters article by Michael Kahn (read here) makes some sobering predictions about the effects of a sudden rise in sea levels that might occur as the result of a tsunami or massive earthquake. According to a U.S. Geological Survey team leader, more than 1 billion people live in low-lying areas that could be affected by such disasters, and millions of square miles of coastal land are potentially at risk.
While the focus of the article is on the use of new Survey team mapping techniques to aid in global disaster planning, there are a couple of comments that might shed some light on the possible fate of MegaAmerica’s lost maritime civilization.
Although the biggest surge of the 2004 Asian tsunami was nearly 100 feet (30 meters), the Survey team leader dismisses the possibility of such large sea level rises on a global scale. Then, in a statement that’s almost an aside, he recalls that 10,000 years ago the earth’s sea levels rose 65 feet (20 meters) in a mere 500 years when the continental ice sheets collapsed! Such an event would have been devastating to the Caribbean/Gulf basin and could have submerged all evidence of an entire culture. In my opinion, it’s time we spend more effort and money on serious underwater archaeology and less of the same digging in the sands of the Egyptian desert.