The freaky little wave turned tides, sent fish jumping out of the water and caused static electricity – which literally put everyone’s hair on end. Experts have told the BBC the bizarre phenonemon was caused by an submarine landslide out to sea on Monday morning. Luckily, the resultant surge of water was only about a foot high.
Experts believe the strange wave lowered air pressure, which caused static in the air. Graphic designer Ben went on: “It was definitely odd and pretty un-nerving.“But I didn’t see any of the traditional Tsunami signs – like retreating water. “So there wasn’t any panic.” Boatman Dave Ladner told BBC reporters: “The funniest thing was on the causeway all the ladies’ hair was standing on end with the static. The sea on the eastern side was probably eight inches to a foot higher than the rest. “It was pouring over the causeway like a torrent.”
Dr Mark Davidson said the wave, which has been unexplained by any traditional shore-based indicators, probably started with a landslide way out to sea. The Plymouth University lecturer said: “These events are quite rare and it’s probably not a tidal phenomenon. “It’s probably more likely to be a tsunami of some kind, obviously it’s quite mild. It’s probably not due to an earthquake, which is the normal source. “It’s probably more likely to be a sub-marine landslide.”
The baby-tsunami grew in size as it spread up the coast: tidal guages recorded its size as 0.7ft in Newlyn, but 1.3ft by the time it reached Portsmouth. As it passed along Plymouth, a local landowner saw fishes leaping out of the water en masse, and the tide direction in the River Yealm briefly turned backwards.