Mega-Tsunami: A Natural Time Bomb

After the 2004 tragic Tsunami devastation in South East Asia, I became more intrigued of natural disasters specifically Tsunami waves. After tons of research on this natural Disaster, I found information from National Geographic documentaries as well as several websites of a Tsunami that has the potential to cause 10 times the damage that was done in Asia.

Whether caused by huge meteors crashing into the ocean or catastrophic landslides, Mega Tsunamis are a dangerous threat to and mankind. Unlike the Tsunami that devastated South East Asia in 2004 (caused by a massive submarine earthquake), the Mega-Tsunami gains its strength from overwhelming pressure of rock that crashes into the ocean. The effects can cause enormous waves that travel across the ocean in a matter of hours, wiping out entire cities.

In 1958, the Largest Tsunami occurred on Lituya Bay in Canada. Approximately 40 million cubic meters of rock (caused by an earthquake) fell into the sea, creating a wave over 1600 feet high that destroyed everything in its path. The Mega-Tsunami Standards, this wave wasn’t nearly as big. The amount of pressure it would take to create a Mega-Tsunami would have be more than 100 times the amount of rock it took to create the devastation in Canada. Scientist have explored the world for evidence of past Mega-Tsunamis and discovered that it is possible that 11 have occurred within the past 200,000 years of the coast of Hawaii and the Canary Islands. On the sea beds of these coasts, scientist discovered colossal remains of landslides that occurred from earthquakes and volcanoes.

The most likely place for another Mega-Tsunami to occur is on the Canary Islands (off the coast of North Africa). In 1949, the Cumbre Vieja volcano (on the island of La Palma) erupted, causing a huge piece of the mountain to slip towards the ocean before stopping. If the volcano was to erupt again, there is a possibility that the western flank of the rock will drop into the ocean causing a catastrophic tidal wave that would sweep across the Atlantic Ocean at rapid speed. Scientist predict that this Tsunami would travel the Ocean in a matter of hours hitting the entire United States east coast, wiping out every city from Boston to Miami. The damage that could be done to these cities would be chaotic, as it would demolish even the tallest of buildings, bridges and any living person caught in its wrath. The estimated five hundred billion tons of rock that would fall into the ocean will create a colossal tidal wave up to 295 feet high. The fallen landslide in the ocean will power this wave, increasing its speed. By the time the Tsunami would reach the United States, scientist predict the wave to widen and shorten by 50 meters, traveling inland of about 20 miles.

There is no way of knowing the next eruption of Cumbre Vieja and it is also unknown whether or not the huge rock will fall into the ocean. The eruption of this volcano can happen anywhere between now and the next 2,000 years. The only thing that is certain is a landside from that volcano will cause the biggest natural disaster threat of our time. Parts of Europe and Africa would be hit by the Mega-Tsunami, but the major damage would be done to the United States eastern coastline. There would be no way of stopping such waves of great strengths and speed. The evacuation of the entire east coast shoreline is also impossible since it would only take a few hours to travel across the Atlantic to the US unless we were warned of signs of a volcano eruption. Even then, it would be very risky to evacuate so many people without knowing whether or not the landslide will actually fall into the ocean after the eruption.

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