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Tsunami on East Coast? NJ Coast Was Struck By Wave June 13, Experts Say

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 12:29 PM

By Michael Mullins

A Tsunami wave appeared along New Jersey's southern shore earlier this month, knocking three individuals off of rocks and sweeping them into the ocean. A tsunami is extremely rare, particularly on the East Coast.

The tsunami waves, which occurred the afternoon of June 13, are being reviewed by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

Having been detected by more than 30 tide gauges and one buoy throughout the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, scientists say the tsunami-like waves were accompanied by a weather system known as a low-end derecho, MyFoxNY.com reports.

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In a joint statement by NOAA and West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, the agencies said the source of the waves were "still under review," and that they were at least in part generated by "meteorological causes."

Scientists also say it's possible the slumping at the Continental Shelf east of New Jersey played a role, the Associated Press reported.

Brian Coen, a New Jersey fisherman who observed the waves as they impacted the shoreline off Barnegat Township, said the tsunami-like waves were preceded by thunderstorms had moved through the area earlier in the day.

Coen, who at the time was spear fishing in his boat, recalled seeing a strong outgoing tide that for a span of 1-2 minutes during which time underwater rocks in the inlet were exposed.

Soon after, a 6-foot wave hit the inlet carrying divers back over the submerged reef and into the inlet from where they were picked up, MyFoxNY.com reports.

Two of the three individuals who were swept off the rocks with the tsunami-like waves reportedly received medical treatment.

Tsunami waves, which can last from minutes to hours in length, are triggered by large displacements of water usually caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions.

In recent years, tsunamis have been responsible for some of the most catastrophic natural disasters, particularly in Asia.

In March 2011, the island nation of Japan was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami, that combined killed nearly 16,000 individuals, while injuring more than 6,000 more.

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The most extreme tsunami/earthquake combination occurred in the Indian Ocean in December 2004.

During that so-called Christmas tsunumi, more than 230,000 people were killed, ravaging countries throughout the region. The hardest hit nations included Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

Related stories:

US Tested 'Tsunami Bomb' Targeting Japan in WWII

Powerful Tsunami Triggers Mass South Pacific Evacuations

Tsunami Hits Hawaii After Canada Earthquake

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