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No. 37: Jan-Feb 1985

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Evidence For A Giant Pleistocene Sea Wave

On the Hawaiian island of Lanai, limestone-bearing gravel blankets the coastal slopes. Called the Hulopoe Gravel, it now reaches a height of 326 meters above sea level. Taking into account the 1000,000-year age of the gravel and the slow subsidence of the Hawaiian Islands, the deposit probably reached 380 meters when it was first formed.

The big question is how it got deposited at such great heights. Highsea stands are rejected by the authors in favor of a single episode of catastrophic waves about 100,000 years ago. Earthquake-generated tidal waves are considered unlikely because of the great heights involved. (The highest tsunami ever recorded in historical times reach ed only 17 meters above sea level.) A great meteor impact or submarine volcanic explosion are good possibilities, but the authors favor a giant submarine landslide on the Hawaiian Ridge, noting that in 1958 a similar event off Alaska produced a wave that reached 524 meters above sea level.

(Moore, James G., and Moore, George W.; "Deposit from a Giant Wave on the Island of Lanai, Hawaii, Science, 226:1312, 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987