BBC World News America reports May 3, that a possible tsunami hit the Northeast coastal region 2300 years ago. Given the results from more than 20 sedimentary deposit cores, it seems a “violent force” swept the region in 300 BC. Steven Goodbred, an earth scientist at Vanderbilt University is quoted as saying, “if we’re wrong, it was one heck of a storm.” Large deposits of gravel, marine fossils and other unusual material have been found along Long Island, New Jersey, and far up the Hudson River. A high velocity wave and strong currents would be required to move that much material over those distances.
Even those who agree it was most likely a tsunami are not in agreement on what caused the event that set it all in motion. There are undersea landslide proponents who posit that as the most likely source. Another research group points to an asteroid impact. Either way, a wave of that size today would leave the Financial District and significant portions of Long Island covered in water.
The tsunami theory first came about when two scientists, working independently – one in New Jersey and the Hudson River, the other on Long Island/New York – discovered similar characteristics in the core samples they’d taken. The samples showed large chunks of gravel and/or round balls of clay that didn’t belong where they were discovered. The scientists worked through what could have caused this material to move these distances at a velocity great enough to form balls of the clay and the tsunami theory was born.