The chances of another ocean-wide tsunami striking somewhere in the world were high, a British expert said Sunday, putting the odds of such an event in the next 70 years at just 2-to-1.
The devastating event would likely be caused by a submarine earthquake, such as the one that unleashed the devastating Dec. 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, said Professor Bill McGuire, head of the Benfield Hazard Research Center at University College London.
Such an event could occur along any of a number of fault lines, he said, but noted that pressure was building near Tokyo.
McGuire, who was planning to give a major lecture on the topic Monday, released comments in advance on Sunday.
"The odds of another tsunami are probably even shorter than 2-to-1, because we had one in Chile in 1960, Alaska in 1964 and Sumatra last year. So that's three in 44 years," he said.
He warned that the odds were just 3-to-1 against an earthquake striking with worldwide economic effects.
"Return periods for an earthquake of global significance are every couple of centuries. The last major one in Tokyo was in 1923, which killed 200,000. I expect the next one there to kill 60,000 people, and cost somewhere up to US$3.3 trillion," or about Ђ2.8 trillion, "which would have a devastating effect on the global economy."
He conceded that disaster prediction was "an imprecise science."
"Sometimes it's like being a bookie _ there is always an element of uncertainty, but beneath that are solid facts," he said. "We know for certain that strain is building along the fault lines lying under Tokyo, but there's still a chance we could be caught out by something totally unexpected.", AP reported. V.A.