That Canary Island Time Bomb
By James Donahue
If you think the big tides and flooding from
the hurricanes are bad, consider a “mega tsunami,” a massive wall of water sweeping across the Atlantic at speeds
of over 500 miles-per-hour and striking the entire east coast of the United States.
Not only would it hit North America this wave
also would slam into the British Isles, the entire western coasts of Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean Islands,
destroying everything in its path.
Scientists warn that this kind of disaster is
poised to really happen because of a large piece of a volcano that is threatening to plunge into the sea.
All it would take, said Bill McGuire, director
of the Benfield Greig Hazards Research Centre, University College London, is an earthquake or eruption of the volcano located
on La Palma Island, in the Canary chain just off the African coast.
The danger is quite real, McGuire warns.
He said the potential for disaster was set up
when the volcano, Cumbre Vieja, last erupted. The blast caused a huge part of its western flank to crack. Since then, a massive
part of that mountain, an estimated 500 billion tons of it, has been poised to slide into the sea.
Measurements over the years indicate that this
part of the mountain has been slowly sliding toward the Atlantic ever since.
When it goes, it will likely collapse in about
90 seconds,” McGuire said.
As it drops, it will fall into water almost four
miles deep and create an undersea wave unlike anything ever seen in recorded history. McGuire, said the wave would be about
330 feet high when it strikes land.
“When one of these comes in, it keeps on
coming for 10 to 15 minutes,” he said. “It’s like a huge wall of water that just keeps coming.”
The destruction from such a wave would not be
limited to just the immediate coastal areas, but reach inland until the power of the water is exhausted. Entire coastal cities
could be destroyed.
The wave could be formed and strike these areas
with such speed that there would be little time for evacuation. Millions would be caught almost unaware.
McGuire said computer models show that the super
waves could cross 4,000 miles of ocean and reach the Caribbean islands and the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada
within nine and 12 hours. Europe and Africa would be struck much earlier.
Worse hit will be harbors and estuaries that
channel the waves inland.
Even though the potential for disaster is known,
McGuire said little has been done to monitor the geological activity on La Palma. He said a few seismometers are set up on
the western flank of the island, but they don’t provide the information needed to predict an eruption.
“It’s really a worrying situation,”
he said. “We may not get the notice we need.”