Oct 12, 2006
If you’re planning a holiday in the Canary Islands sometime in the next 10000 years you can rest assured that there isn’t likely to be a devastating collapse of the volcanic island of La Palma and an ensuing tsunami.
According to researchers in the Netherlands, La Palma is a lot more stable than is generally assumed. Jan Nieuwenhuis and his colleagues have cast doubts on pessimistic estimates of the effects of a collapse of the southwestern flank of La Palma caused by a volcanic eruption. Geologists had previously calculated that such a collapse would cause a mega tsunami that might roar across the Atlantic wreaking havoc on the US eastern seaboard, Europe, and Africa, with waves initially 650 metres high moving at 800 kilometres per hour. A tsunami on this scale could wipe New York, Boston, Lisbon, and Casablanca from the face of the map.
The findings are likely to cause something of a row among geological researchers a faction of which believe La Palma could collapse into the sea very soon indeed causing a tsunami big enough to engulf the US eastern seaboard, the exposed North African coast and countless Portuguese ports.
You can read the full story in my Spotlight column on Intute.