Today in history: the mystery flood of 1607

Today is the 410th anniversary of an event that affected the southwest England and Wales.  Around noon on January 30th, 1607, the sea rose dramatically in low-lying areas of the Bristol Channel, inundating areas as far as 14 miles from the coast and submerging them under as much as nearly 8 meters of water.

1607 flood

The best theory these days seems to be that the event was a tsunami rather than a storm surge.  But it is still unknown what would have caused the tsunami.  One theory posits that an offshore earthquake off the continental shelf may have triggered the tsunami, or possibly a massive undersea landslide.

Still, it’s amazing to think there is still so much we don’t know.  And it’s weird to think that something so catastrophic could have happened in relatively recent times and we know so little that we have no idea if it could happen again.

Science and history.


2 thoughts on “Today in history: the mystery flood of 1607”

  1. Wow most enjoyable. At those depths ( 8 meters) and those ranges (14 miles from the coast ), there must have been plenty of flood victim casualties.

    1. There were indeed, Dad. Historians have estimated that about 2,000 people died as a result of this flooding. That was at a time when population density was much lower and these areas were much more rural. So it’s a startling figure.

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