Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

The Coming Atlantic Mega-Tsunami 1068

Posted by timothy
from the something-will-kill-you dept.
rbrander writes "It's not news at all that scientists predict an eventual "mega-tsunami" that will sweep across the Atlantic that will still be anything from 60 to 150 ft high when it hits the U.S. Eastern seaboard. This Old News, however, suddenly seems fresh. Like an asteroid hit, it could be millenia away, or tomorrow, that a volcano in the Canary Islands just off Africa drops half a trillion tons of rock into the Atlantic. A short description of the problem from BBC News and some more graphic descriptions (of up to 100 million dead) and shrewd commentary on the politics of warning from journalist Gwynne Dyer."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Coming Atlantic Mega-Tsunami

Comments Filter:
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021@bc9002[ ]et ['1.n' in gap]> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:17PM (#11211592) Homepage
    As anyone who's seen the video's of the Asian Tsunami at video.contemporaryinsanity.org knows, this is not a pleasant thing to contemplate...

  • Why Worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:17PM (#11211594) Homepage Journal
    Natural Disasters... they can happen at any time, in any place, and most of the time there is no warning.

    Why the big hub-bub? They happen. Its part of living in this giant green and blue globe. Instead of freaking out and building ourselves fallout shelters, how about we all take time to donate time or effort into helping those that are in need from the last disaster?
    • by Se7enLC (714730) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:22PM (#11211651) Homepage Journal
      > Natural Disasters... they can happen at any time, in any place, and most of the time there is no warning.

      I always turn off the natural disasters when I play. I hate spending all that time building the city only to have Godzilla come crashing through
    • Re:Why Worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob Carr (780861) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:24PM (#11211700) Homepage Journal
      Why the big hub-bub?

      Because everyone decided to not worry about an Indian Ocean tsunami. "It's unlikely to happen anywhere other than the Pacific Ring of Fire" they said.

      Now we do the intelligent thing, which is learn from past mistakes. With a watch system like the one for the Pacific, we can mitigate the disaster.

      Wouldn't we all feel real stupid if we decided to do nothing and an Atlantic tsunami hit?

      • by bludstone (103539) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:39PM (#11211906)
        Because everyone decided to not worry about an Indian Ocean tsunami

        http://slashdot.org/articles/04/12/28/0120240.sh tm l?tid=99&tid=1

        Uh, actually, plenty of people worried. Arthur C Clarke was there researching the possibility.

        --

        The purpose of Project Warn is combine enhanced communications and IT systems to provide warning of impending natural or man-made disasters and to provide on-going communications and remote sensing and GIS support during disaster relief operations. The Clarke Foundation is working with the Pacific Disaster Center, the Asian Disaster Mitigation Organization, the United Nations, and the US and Japanese Governments as coordinated through the JUSTSAP organization to carry out a suitable test and demonstration in this area.In particular a simulation and test is being planned in the Pacific Region in 2005 to determine to how to use the latest information and sensing technology more effectively in the advent of that a major Tsunami might impact an Asian country or island. Clarke Foundation personnel are providing technical advice and support on a volunteer basis to this project.

        --

        Too late though.
      • by sweatyboatman (457800) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .namtaobytaews.> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#11212087) Homepage Journal
        You've entirely missed the point. You can't anticipate every possible occurence.

        We can put tsunami warning systems on every coastline in the world and they wont do us any good when a huge meteor hits the earth.

        Or we can dedicate the entire resources of the planet for the next 20 years to building a system that will protect us from earth destroying meteors. And then a series of catastrophic 9.0+ earthquakes at every major fault-line on the planet will wipe us out (only our super high-tech orbital defense satelites will remain)

        Or something else will happen that we didn't and couldn't anticipate (Vogons).

        The universe is wild and wooly. It doesn't knock, it doesn't ask politely. It does whatever it wants and the survivors (if there are any) pick up the pieces when its done.

        "Why worry?" might be a little too strong. More like, "Don't panic."
      • Re:Why Worry? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dorsey (119963) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#11212089)
        Nothing productive will come of this. Right now everyone's gung-ho for watch sytems in the Indian and Atlantic oceans because this is still fresh in everyone's minds (because it's still on TV). But in 10 or 15 years people will be bitching about wasting money on something that will most likely not happen in our lifetimes.

        And the thing is, they will have a point. Our resources are finite and there is no shortage of natural disasters. At some point you just have to roll the dice when allocating those resources, and sometimes it'll come up snakes eyes. That's life.
    • Agreed (Score:4, Funny)

      by PhysicsGenius (565228) <physics_seeker&yahoo,com> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:37PM (#11211867)
      Because a disaster can happen at any time, I never wear a seatbelt or install smoke alarms plus I make sure to always wear loose clothing near my tablesaw and run with scissors.
  • Wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andorion (526481) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:17PM (#11211595)
    Here's the Wiki link for a Megatsunami [wikipedia.org]. Here's an excerpt:

    "During an eruption that is anticipated to occur sometime within the next few thousand years the western half of the island, weighing perhaps 500 billion tonnes, will catastrophically slide into the ocean. This will inevitably generate a megatsunami which will travel across the Atlantic and strike the Caribbean and the Eastern American seaboard several hours later with a wave possibly 90 meters (300 feet) high, resulting in massive coastal devastation.
    • Re:Wikipedia (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Altus (1034) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:26PM (#11211719) Homepage


      one has to wonder if we could defuse the problem by putting that mass in the water now, in a controlled manner. couldnt we start blowing off chunks of the island now and minimize the impact of any possible eruption?

      clearly you would have to be very careful and the cost would be very high, but if everyone is certain that this mega tsunami is going to happen wouldnt it make sense to spend the money up front rather than on disaster relief?

      • Re:Wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

        by Shalda (560388) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:09PM (#11212962) Homepage Journal
        No good. The real mass to be worried about is several square miles of ocean floor shifting. Secondly, this is only a highly speculative event. The Atlantic has very low tectonic activity. Thirdly, the Atlantic has a feature which stunts the formation of trans-oceanic tsunami. Specificly, the mid-atlantic ridge. If you look at the physics of a tsunami, it's about a vertical volume of water moving laterally. It gets big as it gets shallow. The mid-atlantic ridge will cause a good portion of the wave to rise up and crash out in the middle of nowhere dissapating much of the energy. It's really no coincidance that the eastern US has never seen a major tidal wave.
    • Re:Wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

      by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:26PM (#11212514)
      One should note that the prediction of this megatsunami is very much the minority position among scientists.

      See Tidal wave threat 'over-hyped' [bbc.co.uk] at the BBC web site, and this statement [sthjournal.org] from the Tsunami Society:

      MEGA TSUNAMI HAZARDS
      January 15, 2003

      The mission of the Tsunami Society includes "the dissemination of knowledge about tsunamis to scientists, officials, and the public". We have established a committee of private, university, and government scientists to accomplish part of this goal by correcting misleading or invalid information released to public about this hazard. We can supply both valid, correct and important information and advice to the public, and the names of reputable scientists active in the field of tsunami, who can provide such information.

      Most recently, the Discovery Channel has replayed a program alleging potential destruction of coastal areas of the Atlantic by tsunami waves which might be generated in the near future by a volcanic collapse in the Canary Islands. Other reports have involved a smaller but similar catastrophe from Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawai`i. They like to call these occurences "mega tsunamis". We would like to halt the scaremongering from these unfounded reports. We wish to provide the media with factual information so that the public can be properly informed about actual hazards of tsunamis and their mitigation.

      Here are a set of facts, agreed on by committee members, about the claims in these reports:

      - While the active volcano of Cumbre Vieja on Las Palma is expected to erupt again, it will not send a large part of the island into the ocean, though small landslides may occur. The Discovery program does not bring out in the interviews that such volcanic collapses are extremely rare events, separated in geologic time by thousands or even millions of years.

      - No such event - a mega tsunami - has occurred in either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans in recorded history. NONE.

      - The colossal collapses of Krakatau or Santorin (the two most similar known happenings) generated catastrophic waves in the immediate area but hazardous waves did not propagate to distant shores. Carefully performed numerical and experimental model experiments on such events and of the postulated Las Palma event verify that the relatively short waves from these small, though intense, occurrences do not travel as do tsunami waves from a major earthquake.

      - The U.S. volcano observatory, situated on Kilauea, near the current eruption, states that there is no likelihood of that part of the island breaking off into the ocean.

      - These considerations have been published in journals and discussed at conferences sponsored by the Tsunami Society.

      Some papers on this subject include:

      "Evaluation of the threat of Mega Tsunami Generation From ....Volcanoes on La Palma ... and Hawaii", George Pararas-Carayannis, in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol 20, No.5, pages 251-277, 2002.

      "Modeling the La Palma Landslide Tsunami", Charles L. Mader, in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol. 19, No. 3, pages 160-180, 2001.

      "Volcano Growth and the Evolution of the Island of Hawaii", J.G. Moore and D.A.Clague, in the Geologic Society of America Bulletin, 104, 1992.

      Committee members for this report include:

      Mr. George Curtis, Hilo, HI (Committee Chairman) 808-963-6670

      Dr. Tad Murty, Ottawa, Canada, 613-731-8900

      Dr. Laura Kong, Honolulu, HI, 808-532-6422

      Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis, Honolulu, HI, 808-943-1150

      Dr. Charles L. Mader, Los Alamos, NM, 808-396-9855

      and all can comment on this or other tsunami matters.

      For information regarding the Tsunami Society and its publications, visit: www.sthjo

  • by wcitechnologies (836709) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:17PM (#11211599)
    "on a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
  • by suso (153703) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:17PM (#11211603) Homepage Journal
    Rhetoric:

    Why is this news now? Why was this not news when it was first known? Why do most people only care about this as news in the wake of what happened.

    Sorry for the double entendre.
  • Governments? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wdd1040 (640641) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:19PM (#11211617)
    Natural disasters that can affect the whole planet are known to scientists as "global geophysical events" -- gee-gees, for short -- and they come in two kinds: ones you might be able to do something useful about, and ones you can't. When governments are faced with the first kind, they can respond quite sensibly.

    Yes, but when have we known the governments to respond sensibly about an upcoming major disaster?
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:20PM (#11211630) Homepage
    There's some bad science in the post, especially the comment about the wave being 'still' that high. Most tsunamis are very small out in the ocean, most less then a few centimeters tall.

    They don't get big until they approach the shore and the depth gets shallow.

    The small waves, btw, travel around the speed of a jetliner, hence the lack of warning.
  • Gwynne Dyer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:21PM (#11211647)
    Gwynne Dyer is a sharp fellow (Canadian living in the UK). I have met him personally on a few occasions, he tends to have pretty reasonable insights into world politics. I'm not so sure how strong his science is, however. But from what I've seen from him over the years (Globe and Mail, etc.) he does not tend to seek to induce panic in people like many other journalists.
  • by Lordrashmi (167121) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:21PM (#11211650)
    Florida will protect my home in Texas...
  • What if...... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FXSTD (468083) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:25PM (#11211714)
    Now that everyones attention is on natural disasters rather than terrorism, let us take this opportunity to combine them....
    Could a terrorist set off a bomb large enough to trigger the slide? Seems like this would be an easier target and do more damage than any nuke a typical terrorist could make.

  • by i41Overlord (829913) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:26PM (#11211724)
    It seems that nowadays the news has become entertainment instead of information. Journalists scurry to find ways to make The Next Big Headline (tm). Instead of finding ways to make people feel better or do something to help those that need it, they try to find ways to surprise and upset people- anything that will make people watch their channel or read their newspaper.

    Now in the wake of a real natural disaster, all the journalists are hopping on the "tsunami disaster" bandwagon. They're thinking "how can I apply the fear from the disaster which just took place on the other side of the Earth to my own hometown? I bet that'll sell a lot of papers!"

    Summary- there seems to be a big market for profiting from fear and doom 'n gloom predictions and not a very big market for helping people.

    • by Kraegar (565221) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:41PM (#11211943)
      The BBC article:
      Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction
      BBC Two 9.30pm 12 October 2000
      Revisited: BBC Four 7pm 24 May 2003

      The other article:
      11 August 2004
      Unstoppable Gee-Gees
      By Gwynne Dyer

      Perhaps the person pointing them out was looking for a tie-in to be sensationalistic, but both articles were written long ago, and were certainly attempts to educate about preventing the disasters of the type that just occurred.

    • see it in action (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cliveholloway (132299) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:41PM (#11212682) Homepage Journal
      I live in Los Angeles and don't have cable. As soon as I heard about the tsunami, I switched the TV on.

      Soaps, Chat Shows, blah blah blah. I didn't see anything on the local channels until the evening news!

      And then, when I did, the news focussed almost exclusively on how it affected US (sic). For me, the worst comment was actually on PBS (of all places). Admittedly, it was "World Business Report" (or something like that). I caught a glimpse of a top ranking Sri-Lankan being interviewed, and the interviewer asked something along the lines of, "Sri Lanka makes a lot of clothing for the US market - for example, a lot of Victoria's Secrets' items are manufactured there. Do you think this disaster will affect your country's export ability?"

      I mean, fuck. That to me is in such bad taste I'm surprised the guy didn't just punch him and walk out.

      It would be like saying to Mayor Giuliani on September 12th, 2001, "So, the twin towers ran a lot of the world's banking services. How do you think this destruction is going to affect The UK's merchant banks?".

      I mean, wtf???"

      To restore my sanity, I went to http://news.bbc.co.uk for an in depth view.

      God I miss real news TV sometimes. Anyone know how I can get the BBC's Newsnight in high quality through my DSL in LA?

      cLive ;-)
  • by scorp1us (235526) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:27PM (#11211729) Journal
    Imagine a terrorist organization that detonates a bomb in the fissure. It is the stuff movies are made about. (Indecentlally if you are a movie maker you can buy that idea off me) You'd nail every country you hate and then some. But the problem is it only works once, so it is not good for terrorism per se.

    The solution is the same as the problem. I would fracture the land mass and incrementally slide it in to the ocean. Several planned tsunamis are better than one big unplanned one.

    I do not know if it is possible, but with that death toll and desvistation, it looks like we should get some geologists down there to see if it can't be done. It is resy though, you don't want to trigger the whole thing. Perhaps, it could be divided horizontally to remove the downward stress, rather than splitting slices off vertically?

    • by dpilot (134227) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#11212785) Homepage Journal
      Don't even need a nuke. It's even possible a nuke would be counterproductive, and stick the mass there even harder.

      Look back about a month or so ago. In Western Utah they were doing some sort of desalination thing, and pumping the brine deep underground. There were also minor tremors nearby in Colorado. Turned out that the brine was lubricating a fault, and the tremors were little slips.

      They stopped pumping the brine in Utah.

      Which in a way is really dumb, because the pressure down there is building. Letting it out in lots of small slips is better than having it go off in a big one. But I guess in the US we're so into the blame game that we'd rather have a catastrophic accident that we can't get blamed for than minor incidents that we can.

      So you don't need, maybe don't even want, a nuke.
      Just a pumping station for ocean water.
  • Oh, well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mogrify (828588) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:29PM (#11211754) Homepage
    ... there go the blue states :(
  • Wave Height (Score:5, Informative)

    by bzebarth (727391) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:30PM (#11211769)
    that will sweep across the Atlantic that will still be anything from 60 to 150 ft high when it hits the U.S. Eastern seaboard

    I heard an interview with someone from NOAA with the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seatle that described what happens when a Tsunami occurs. He said when the wave travels through deep water it has tremendous speed (hundreds of mile/hour) but is only a few feet high. As it comes into shallow water the wave slows down to 10s of miles/hour and that causes the huge wall of water. So a Tsunami is not really a 100 ft wave as it travels through the ocean only once it nears land.

    Just my $.02.

  • Tsunami Tsimulator? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by starglider29a (719559) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:30PM (#11211778)
    In the same vein as the Asteroid Simulator page (http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/), is there anything that can give us some ballpark figures on tsunami wave height and speed vs. distance for a given energy? (Like an Asteroid Strike?) Using 2004 MN4 as a sample, The Impact Simulator gives this value. "The crater opened in the water has a diameter of 5.41 km = 3.36 miles"

    Can we use that to estimate a wave height at a given distance?

    Also, if an impact we in the Indian Ocean, what effect would be seen in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, being narrow, shallow waterways? We all remember the "shotgun blast" from the Gulf of California in Lucifer's Hammer, now don't we?
  • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@c[ ]ast.net ['omc' in gap]> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:44PM (#11211990) Journal
    He should plant it on this island, and not in DC?
  • Links to Researchers (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:45PM (#11212001) Homepage Journal
    This is a story I submitted yesterday, with links to people actually researching this problem:
    Scientists at the
    Benfield Hazard Research Center [nyud.net] have determined that a Mega-tsunami will hit the coast of North America [nyud.net] when the Cumbre Vieja Volcano and part of the Island of La Palma in the Canary Islands collapse into the sea. The wave hitting North America will be up to 50 meters (164 feet) high and surge up to 20km (12.4 miles) inland while Brazil will see 40 meter waves with up to 100 meter waves on the West Saharan shore (ILM Rendition [nyud.net]). Insurance losses [nyud.net] are estimated to be in the multi-trillions, yet the landslide has been completely unmonitored since 1997. The BBC has an FAQ on the Mega-tsunami [bbc.co.uk].

    [edit: rejected by Slashdot 2004-12-28 17:22:50]
    Now I can change my .sig back... :)
    • Submitter was Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

      by TPIRman (142895)
      According to the BBC FAQ linked in the parent post, the tsunami won't hit tomorrow as the story submitter implied. In fact, there will be a decent amount of warning:

      When will the volcano on La Palma collapse?

      The collapse of the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, on the southern half of La Palma, is not going to happen tomorrow or next week. Tourists should not cancel their holidays to the Canary Islands, or to the east coast of the United States or the Caribbean.

      What scientists are predicting i

  • by mslinux (570958) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:46PM (#11212019)
    Ocean front property in North carolina. From my front porch you can see the sea...oh hell... is that what I think it is?
  • by mslinux (570958) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#11212079)
    I wanna watch the insurance agents sweat, shake and cry to the feds that they can't pay all the claims that they've underwritten when the mega-tsunami hits. They love taking money, but hell has to freeze over before they'll part with it!
  • OVER-HYPED (Score:4, Informative)

    by Snap E Tom (128447) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:52PM (#11212108)
    Lame. Come on, people. Let's take a look at this with a critical eye before everyone panicks. You post a BBC article from 2000? The BBC ran a more recent article with more recent findings.

    Tidal wave thread 'over-hyped' [bbc.co.uk]

    Summary: Evidence suggests slides on the Canary Islands to happen in small, incremental slides. The huge collapse is sensationalism and the absolute "worst-case scenario"
  • by NullProg (70833) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:52PM (#11212109) Homepage Journal
    this erupts:
    Yellowstone [solcomhouse.com]

    The end of the US as we know it.
    Enjoy,
  • by Curses! Curses! (679825) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:55PM (#11212149)
    From: http://www.drgeorgepc.com/TsunamiMegaEvaluation.ht ml/ [drgeorgepc.com]
    A collapse of Cumbre Vieja will not generate waves of up to 50 m. in height in Florida and the Caribbean islands, or more than 40 m along the northern coast of Brazil, ... Proper modeling of dispersive effects (Mader 2001) - provides much more realistic far-field wave estimates, in the unlikely event of a large-scale, La Palma slope failure. Mader's model of a La Palma slide estimates that the east coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean would receive tsunami waves of less than 3 meters and the European and African coasts would receive waves less than 10 meters high. However, this represents the upper limit. Full Navier-Stokes modeling brings the maximum expected tsunami wave amplitude off the U.S. east coast to about one meter. Even with shoaling effects, a tsunami from a La Palma slide would still be of concern but does not present an unmanageable threat or a significant far field hazard.

    That's a three foot wave hitting the U.S. Eastern seaboard after a worst case collapse at La Palma. The paper is very detailed and worth a read.

  • Tsunamis (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EinarH (583836) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @03:58PM (#11212184) Journal
    Since the links kind of lacks real info and I read aout this a couple of weeks ago I might as well give you the links.

    Benfield Hazard Research Centre Tsunami Pages. Click on the last article there. [benfieldhrc.com]
    The most interesting part IMO:

    t is unlikely, however, that the collapse is imminent. Theoretical studies, by Derek Elsworth of Penn State University, of how these landslides are triggered indicate that the forces generated by intrusion of magma into the volcano, ranging from the direct pressure of the rising magma to (perhaps the most significant) pressurisation of trapped groundwater as it is heated by the magma, are necessary to trigger collapse. Elsworth and I have analysed the time taken for these forces to build up and we predict that collapse of a volcano like the Cumbre Vieja is most likely to occur several days to several months after the start of an eruption. As at Mount St. Helens, the collapse is likely to be preceded by progressively accelerating deformation of the unstable flank. Thus, there will be plenty of short-term indications that a collapse may be about to occur, although successful interpretation of these will require detailed monitoring of the volcano.

    So just give these people some money, ok?

    A pdf about tsunamis in the Atlanic. Link [benfieldhrc.com]

    And off course the pics. Link [benfieldhrc.com]

    The upshot of the model is that it predicts that between 6 and 9 hours after the collapse of the Cumbre Vieja, tsunami waves with amplitudes of around 50 metres will strike the entire western seaboard of the Atlantic: these values are consistent with the size of the giant boulders and other deposits in the Bahamas, lending support to the model.
    6 hours+. Plenty of time to evacuate a lot of people. If they A. know about the danger a from through media and B. a reasonably updtated tsunami warning system.
    • Re:Tsunamis (Score:5, Informative)

      by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:31PM (#11212576) Homepage
      6 hours+. Plenty of time to evacuate a lot of people.

      A lot, yes. Most, no. Consider New York City. Eight million residents, and millions more day workers. Roads which come to a stop and trains which totally fill just getting the day workers out each evening. People will try to retreat to high buildings and hope the foundations hold (probable, most are attached to bedrock) - but in the outer boroughs homes are mostly just a few stories. Will these folks be welcomed in the skyscrapers even if they get there? Plus, all of Long Island will be trying to evacuate over the same bridges used by the city.
  • by craw (6958) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:15PM (#11212397) Homepage
    This is what the real experts think about this. The topic of the mega-tsunami is at the end of the FAQ. So
    read it [noaa.gov] and learn something.

    Note that one could point to a lot of active oceanic volcanoes and pose a similar threat level if one considers a tens of thousand of years time frame.

    Another side note: When I was in grad school, I was the TA for one of the committee members.
  • by 955301 (209856) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:27PM (#11212531) Journal
    I say, as soon as the alert warning goes off, we set off tactical nukes across the entire coastline and kill ourselves because, hey, f' you mother nature.

  • by mshiltonj (220311) <mshiltonj@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @04:40PM (#11212667) Homepage Journal
    The western flank of Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canaries is going to slide into the Atlantic one of these days: a diagonal fracture has already separated it from the main body of the volcano, and only friction still keeps it attached.

    If it's just sitting there, waiting to fall into the ocean (with catastrophic results), why don't we start disassembling it now? There's got to be a safe way to slowly rip it apart and reduce the potential risk.

    If not nuclear bombs, then TNT, or jackhammers. Whatever. Just rip it apart and throw it into the ocean piece by piece, safely.

    If there's any truly useful area for robots, this is it. Send a whole fleet of robots up there armed with pickaxes, to reduce the mountain to dust and rubble, slowly, over the course of a couple decades or longer.

    If one foundation can build the Craze Horse Memorial [crazyhorse.org] over a time frame of 65 years (and counting!), surely this is possible.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:10PM (#11212977) Homepage Journal
    I seem to recall that the top of one of the Hawaiian volcanoes is supposed to break off and fall into the ocean sometime in the next 50,000 years or so, causing gigantic tsunamis in the pacific. Just so the Californians don't feel left out...

    Anyone care to place a wager on the plot of the next crappy disaster flick?

  • by nasor (690345) on Wednesday December 29, 2004 @05:25PM (#11213111)
    Perhaps no one hears about these 'mega-tsunamis' much from the media because most scientists agree it could never happen? From http://www.sthjournal.org/media.htm :
    Here are a set of facts, agreed on by committee members, about the claims in these reports:

    - While the active volcano of Cumbre Vieja on Las Palma is expected to erupt again, it will not send a large part of the island into the ocean, though small landslides may occur. The Discovery program does not bring out in the interviews that such volcanic collapses are extremely rare events, separated in geologic time by thousands or even millions of years.

    - No such event - a mega tsunami - has occurred in either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans in recorded history.

    - The colossal collapses of Krakatau or Santorin (the two most similar known happenings) generated catastrophic waves in the immediate area but hazardous waves did not propagate to distant shores. Carefully performed numerical and experimental model experiments on such events and of the postulated Las Palma event verify that the relatively short waves from these small, though intense, occurrences do not travel as do tsunami waves from a major earthquake.

    - The U.S. volcano observatory, situated on Kilauea, near the current eruption, states that there is no likelihood of that part of the island breaking off into the ocean.

    - These considerations have been published in journals and discussed at conferences sponsored by the Tsunami Society.

    Some papers on this subject include:

    "Evaluation of the threat of Mega Tsunami Generation From ....Volcanoes on La Palma ... and Hawaii", George Pararas-Carayannis, in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol 20, No.5, pages 251-277, 2002.

    "Modeling the La Palma Landslide Tsunami", Charles L. Mader, in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol. 19, No. 3, pages 160-180, 2001.

    "Volcano Growth and the Evolution of the Island of Hawaii", J.G. Moore and D.A.Clague, in the Geologic Society of America Bulletin, 104, 1992.

Serving coffee on aircraft causes turbulence.

Working...