A huge wave that lifted 70-tonne boulders as if they were grains of sand hit the island of Malta in the recent past and could do so again with devastating consequences, a study has found.

Scientists have found the first evidence of a highly destructive tsunami in this part of the Mediterranean which was probably caused by an earthquake with an epicentre focused near Sicily or Greece.

The researchers found that large boulders at more than two dozen sites in the north-east of Malta had been moved in land by up to 100 metres from the seabed as a result of a massive ocean wave.

It is the first time that Malta has been directly linked with a Mediterranean tsunami and the scientists have already warned the Maltese authorities about the possibility that a similar event could occur in the future.

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