Malta has been hit by storms so powerful that traces in the coastal sediment remain till this very day, thousands of years later. If such inclement weather were to hit again, it could leave its mark on infrastructure around the coastline.

An ongoing study on sediment samples taken from different spots around the Maltese coasts is uncovering evidence of massive storm events going back to pre­history.  

“These are not regular storms but they are so extreme they leave signs that are still evident after thousands of years,” Patrick J. Schembri, from the Department of Biology, said.

“Popularly called 50-year or 100-year storms, there is evidence that, eventually, whether a tsunami or an extreme storm, at some point or another we’re going to have one of these storms," he said. 

Together with Katrin Fenech, from the Department of Classics of Archaeology, Prof. Schembri is examining remains of past coastal life dating back hundreds to thousands of years. These remains are mostly molluscs found buried as deep as 18 metres in coastal sediment that accumulated on the sea floor over the centuries.  

The power station and the reverse osmosis plants, which the country depends on for its day-to-day running, are safe from an extreme storm, according to the companies that run them.

“Our reverse osmosis plants were designed and built at an adequate distance and at a safe altitude from the shoreline to ensure that they are not affected by adverse sea conditions,” the Water Services Corporation said when contacted.

This was reiterated by a spokesman for Enemalta who said electricity generation installations were not directly exposed to the effects of such open sea conditions.

New installations were subject to a rigorous risk assessment, he added.

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