A planet is not a safe place to be

Looking into the ancient history of Earth, into climate history and geology in particular, we bump into a series of catastrophic events that happened at different moments and that lead to different kinds of massive life extinctions. Some more dramatic than others. End of the World narratives and eschatology topics – we used to speculate about in theology and myths – are now science. Continue reading “A planet is not a safe place to be”

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The Beirut earthquake of 551 AD

The 551 Beirut earthquake occurred on 9 July 551. It had an estimated magnitude of about 7.6 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of X (Intense) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It triggered a devastating tsunami which affected the coastal towns of Byzantine Phoenicia, causing great destruction and sinking many ships. Overall large numbers of people were reported killed, with one estimate of 30,000 by Antoninus of Piacenza for Beirut alone. According to contemporary accounts the sea retreated about 2 miles. Continue reading “The Beirut earthquake of 551 AD”