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KIEL, Germany -- Scientists said Thursday they have discovered evidence that a major natural disaster occurred in the Atlantic Ocean around 2,000 years ago - possibly triggering a monster tsunami.
The edge of the African continental shelf broke off and scattered debris over 150,000 square kilometres of the deep Atlantic off the coast of Morocco, according to experts at the Leibniz Oceanography Institute in Kiel, Germany.
The event is not known from any recorded history, nor was it previously known to geologists, but it is likely to be seized on by people who believe that a lost city named Atlantis existed in ancient times somewhere in the Atlantic basin and was drowned by the sea.
The institute did not mention Atlantis, but noted that the known world in antiquity included the Canary Islands, which could have been hit by a tsunami from the disaster.
"The next step will be to search for deposits on the Canary Islands," said Sebastian Krastel from the institute. The landslip was so powerful that debris was pushed 900 kilometres across the ocean bottom during the event.
Krastel pointed out that ancient authors Herodotus and Pliny the Elder mentioned the Canary Islands. The disaster was discovered by scientists on the research ship Poseidon who went to the area to study another well known major slip of about 50,000 years ago.