Reader Questions

Reader Question: Turbidity Current

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Reader lizardking90 asks:

Would a turbidity current from a large submerged earthquake or a avalanche be dangerous to be caught in: diving or in a submarine?

As with an avalanche, how dangerous it is to get caught in a turbidity current depends on the conditions. Turbidity currents can be survivable–here’s some scuba divers in one and above is a clip from a remotely operated vehicle that got caught in one and lived to tell the tale–but they can also be quite destructive. In particular, they are hard on undersea infrastructure. They’ve been known to snap submarine telecommunications cables, sometimes in multiple locations during a single event, causing millions of dollars worth of damage. In short, if there were a large earthquake that triggered a turbidity current, chances are it would be bad news to get caught up in that flow. (Image credit: E. Sumner and C. Paull, source; via Deep Sea News)

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