On a Fine Day in Shorncliffe the Sea Came Boiling Upwards Across the Bathers …

Lynam, C. (2020)


Australia’s historical scientific archives are open for investigation by citizen scientists, such as myself. They hold our unique primary scientific records, data and references, and they are found in universities, museums, state libraries and government agencies, national archives and on researchers’ PCs. While our paper archives have recently been exposed to digitisation, modern digital scientific information is not being upgraded and collated into our modern digital knowledge-management ‘data mining’ global computational systems. I am writing this awareness article, flavoured with 40 years of seismological engagement and as a purposeful contribution in support of World Digital Preservation Day (22 November 2020), ‘At Risk Digital Materials’. This paper establishes that Queensland has an incomplete ‘public’ history of local tsunami hazard occurrence. Further, it announces the discovery of a new meteotsunami meteorological hazard occurrence on 3 June 1917. By retrieving the various types of archived data, this paper questions and reflects on our society’s lack of tsunami hazard preparedness, highlighting an obvious decline in scientific rigour in communicating such knowledge about our environment. This discussion of meteotsunamis illustrates the multivariate complexity of weather systems, with climate-change-related phenomena capable of creating coastal tsunami-like hazards commonly causally linked to undersea earthquakes and/or landslip or tectonic fault movement. Keywords: tsunami hazard, meteotsunami, tsunamigenic, earthquake, archival preservation, FAIR data re-use.