A stunning cave tells a long history.
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A cave discovered near the source of the deadly earthquake-triggered tsunami that hit Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, contains the footprints of past ancient tsunamis dating back 7,500 years. This rare natural record will help scientists better understand the nature and frequency of these massively destructive waves.
The findings presented this month at an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, Calif., provide the longest and most detailed timeline for tsunamis that have occurred off the far western tip of the island of Sumatra. Finding the cave was pure luck, according to lead researcher Charles Rubin from the Earth Observatory of Singapore. It was discovered by chance and not the result of planned fieldwork, he said.