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Scientists have warned that global warming may create tsunamis in the UK as melting ice sheets upset the Earth's crust.

Greenland's ice sheets are currently melting 'rapidly' and at a rate that is continually increasing.

This, according to University College London's earth sciences professor Bill McGuire, might have disastrous implications for the United Kingdom.

He has cautioned that when the ice sheets vanish, the weight on the Earth's crust becomes less, causing it to bounce back after being crushed by millions of billions of tons of ice.

Greenland's Melting Ice Cap Could Cause Seismic Events

Experts said earthquakes and submarine landslides - when soil falls down into the deep ocean - may happen in Greenland.

Iceberg in North Star Bay, Greenland
(Photo : Jeremy Harbeck / Wikimedia Commons)


The professor warned that these undersea landmasses might cause tsunamis that could reach the UK's west coast.

McGuire told The Financial Times that the elevation in the crust caused by the melting of the Greenland ice cap will cause earthquakes. He added that nobody knows that much about the deposits off Greenland's coast to make a solid prediction about what will happen there. Still, he mentioned that a tsunami may sweep over the North Atlantic within decades.

He believes it will have the same impact as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which affected more than 200,000 people across the Indian Ocean.

Donald Slater, Edinburgh University's glaciologist, also told Financial Times that Greenland has lost 4 trillion tonnes of ice due to melting and iceberg calving in the last 20 years. He added the melting caused the world sea to increase its levels by roughly 1 meter. It will contribute another 10cm to global warming this century.

According to McGuire, Greenland's ice loss and Iceland's and Svalbard's are raising the Earth's crust over the north Atlantic. Sensitive GPS devices on ocean shores are beginning to detect this elevation, occurring at a pace of a few millimeters to 2.5 centimeters per year.

The crust has a long way to bounce back because the whole central part of Greenland is below sea level, pushed down by the mass of the three-kilometer thick ice cover, he added.

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Alaska, the most seismically active area of North America, is already seeing more frequent earthquakes on the opposite side of the Arctic. The biggest earthquake in the United States in 50 years hit near off the coast of southwest Alaska on July 28.

Earth Has Been Carrying Melted Ice Too Much

Meanwhile, McGuire stated at the British Science Festival in Chelmsford, Essex, per Daily Mail, that Greenland has been buried in ice for at least 100,000 years.

He explained that the faults in the Earth's crust will have been collecting too much melted ice for a very long period.

And this might have a significant influence on the United Kingdom. It's not definite, but those who have worked on the project claim they've predicted a seismic reaction in the Greenland area within decades.

He went on to say that the Storegga landslide, which occurred about 8,000 years ago, established the pattern for how destructive tsunamis may be.

The landslide happened off the coast of Norway and resulted in the collapse of 3,000 cubic kilometers of material.

The wave's height was estimated to be between 80 and 16 feet high, depending on where it hit.

The wave completely destroyed Doggerland, a low-lying, marshy island off England's northeast coast that covers an area the size of Wales.

The tsunami would have wreaked havoc on Scotland and the east coast, causing extensive flooding and land destruction.

Professor McGuire stated that the only way to avoid a potentially catastrophic occurrence would be to halt or reduce the melting of the Greenland ice sheets. But he warned that the planet may have already passed the tipping point.

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