Narrator:This is Science Today. Landslide-generated tsunamis, as opposed to those caused by earthquakes, were once considered pretty rare. But recent evidence indicates that an underwater landslide caused a deadly 30-foot tsunami, which devastated coastal villages off Papua New Guinea in 1998. Casey Moore, a professor of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, explains that tsunamis occur when there are rapid changes on the seafloor.
Moore: And that rapid change can be brought about by movement of an earthquake fault that might uplift it or down drop it. Or also, a huge landslide can cause a tsunami - a submarine slide where part of the Earth drops down suddenly and when it does that, then the water surface gets disturbed.
Narrator: Moore is part of an international team studying an area that generates the most powerful submarine quakes.
Moore: We're trying to study geologic hazards and I think the public needs to appreciate that these efforts need a consistency of effort that's going to go on for decades.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.