News Stories

Tsunami in our Future

If the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Canary Islands were toerupt, it would send a giant tsunami wave towards the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. The eruption would cause a landslide that wouldgenerate a wave with energy equivalent to 6 months of U.S. electricity use.

Researchers Simon Day and Steven Ward say this will be an exceptionally large tsunami, traveling great distances at high speeds. As soon as Cumbre Vieja collapses, a huge dome of water will move underwater, producing a "wave train" pattern of crests and troughs. This tsunami will hit parts of Africa, Brazil, Florida and the Caribbean. A day later, the wave will reach London, then hit Spain, Portugal and France.

There will be a warning. Day says, "The collapse will occur during some future eruption after days or weeks of precursory deformation and earthquakes. An effective earthquake monitoring system could provide advanced warning of a likely collapse and allow early emergency management organizations a valuable window of time in which to plan and respond. Eruptions of Cumbre Vieja occur at intervals of decades to a century or so and there may be a number of eruptions before its collapse."

When will this happen? At present, the volcano appears to be non-threatening, but it is believed overdue for an eruption, and volcanologists monitor it closely.

Don't worry?doomsday is not here yet.

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