A huge underwater avalanche was spotted off the coast of West Africa

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A huge underwater avalanche was spotted off the coast of West Africa

A huge underwater avalanche was spotted off the coast of West Africa

A major geological event took place in the Congo Canyon (a deep underwater gorge leading from the mouth of the Congo River on the west coast of Africa). A huge underwater avalanche was recorded there, according to The Daily Mail.

Underwater sensors showed that the landslide spread just under 1,100 km along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. He cut off two telecommunications cables that carry data traffic to West Africa, causing the Internet to slow down from Nigeria to South Africa.

Scientists concluded that the avalanche was not caused by an earthquake. Two factors led to its appearance: severe flooding and abnormally powerful spring tides.

Congo Canyon is one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. In satellite images, scientists noticed a turbid stream of water heavy from sediment, which rushed down.

The stream became faster and faster, destroying the seabed along the way. The sand and mud being lifted up made the water even denser and faster.

As the observations progressed, the flow rate increased from five to eight meters per second. It accelerated over a thousand kilometers, experts said. This phenomenon was recognized as unique in its kind – scientists for the first time observed an underground avalanche of such strength and length.

An underwater avalanche occurred on January 14, 2020, although it became known only now. Scientists concluded that it was formed due to extreme flooding that occurred in December 2019 in the Congo River region. It carried large volumes of sand and mud into the canyon, and two weeks later, powerful tides set them in motion.

Note that a similar event was recorded almost a hundred years ago. A 1928 submarine avalanche in Newfoundland, Canada, severed all 20 submarine cables across the North Atlantic.

Further studies will show how climatic and hydrological changes can affect the formation of underwater avalanches. Earlier it was reported that the largest landslide on Earth was noticed on the shores of the Caspian Sea. It covers 10 cubic kilometers of rock.

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