Eruption Would Cause Killer Tsunami. (Natural Disaster)

Article excerpt

Huge waves, or tsunami, higher than any in recorded history, could hit Atlantic-facing coasts if the most active volcano in the Canaries over the past 165,000 years erupts -- and it could occur some time in the next 50 years.

If part of Cumbre Vieja, on the island of La Palma erupts and falls into the sea, coasts directly facing it will suffer the brunt of the massive waves, despite being on the other side of the Atlantic.

This is the frightening scenario proposed by Dr Simon Day of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at the University College London, and Dr Steven Ward of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California.

The scientists reported that any future eruption on the geologically unstable, 2,000-metre-high volcano is liable to cause "catastrophic failure" of its entire western flank. Evidence suggests a huge segment, perhaps 15-20km wide and 15-25km in length, (perhaps 500 cubic kilometres), may collapse into the sea.

Their computer model has predicted that if this were to happen, at an assumed 100 metres-per-second, giant tsunami would expand outwards in an arc greater than 180 [degrees], covering 250km in just ten minutes. …