In 2007 Smith Dharmasaroja, the former disaster czar of Thailand, pointed to the dangers posed by mountains of mud deposited by the Ganges in the Bay of Bengal. What the research below raises is the danger of soft material combined with earthquakes. Are these not high priority research areas for our scientists? In a paper published today (24 August 2012) in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Professors Dan McKenzie and James Jackson of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences describe for the first time the added factor that may have made this tsunami so severe: a huge collapse of soft material on the sea bed resulted in a far greater movement of water than would have been caused by the earthquake alone. Full report.