For 20 years we have been warned that the eruption of a specific volcano in the Canary Islands could cause an absolutely massive tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean, and now that specific volcano in the Canary Islands is violently erupting. But just because the Cumbre Vieja volcano is erupting, that does not necessarily mean that we will see a tsunami. In fact, a tsunami will only be generated if the western portion of the volcano collapses and an absolutely gigantic landslide is caused as a result. In a worst case scenario, a chunk of real estate the size of Manhattan would detach from the island and slide into the Atlantic Ocean with extreme violence, and the ensuing tsunami would cause death and destruction on a scale that is difficult to fathom.
Needless to say, I will be watching these developments very carefully. If you have read my last two books, then you already know that I have a particular interest in the potential for mega-tsunamis.
Let us hope that the seismic activity in the Canary Islands fizzles out without any landslide happening. Because for the last two decades scientists have been warning us about what could potentially happen, and it is really, really bad. The following comes from Wikipedia…
The island of La Palma in the Canary Islands is at risk of undergoing a large landslide, which could cause a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean. Volcanic islands and volcanoes on land frequently undergo large landslides/collapses, which have been documented in Hawaii for example. A recent example is Anak Krakatau, which collapsed to cause the 2018 Sunda Strait tsunami, claiming hundreds of lives.
Steven N. Ward and Simon Day in a 2001 research article proposed that a Holocene change in the eruptive activity of Cumbre Vieja volcano and a fracture on the volcano that formed during an eruption in 1949 may be the prelude to a giant collapse. They estimated that such a collapse could cause tsunamis across the entire North Atlantic and severely impact countries as far away as North America.
Of course not all tsunamis are created equal. After all, there is a world of difference between a tsunami that is only a couple of feet tall and one that is hundreds of feet tall.
So what would a worst case scenario mean for the countries that border the Atlantic?
Well, according to Ward and Day the coast of Africa could be hit by waves as high as 330 feet tall, and the coast of Florida could be hit by waves as high as 82 feet tall…