The La Palma Volcano on the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa has experienced 40 earthquakes in the last 48 hours, giving rise to concerns the volcano may erupt. If an eruption takes place, something scientists have long feared may also happen: The west side of the Volcano will blow-off into the Atlantic Ocean, sending a Tsunami into the East Coast of the U.S. 7 to 8 hours later . . . . with 90 to 160 foot waves slamming up to 12 miles inland!
Every major US City on the eastern seaboard would be completely destroyed.
La Palma was rocked by more than 40 seismic movements of low magnitude and intensity between 1.5 and 2.7 on the Richter scale, according to the data of the National Geographic Institute.
The biggest earthquake, recorded at around 1pm on Saturday, had a magnitude of 2.7 and took place in the area of the Natural Park Cumbre Vieja, 28 kilometres deep.
The second largest quake, of 2.6, took place at 1.23pm on Sunday in the same area, while the third quake erupted at midnight on Monday, reaching a magnitude of 2.1, according to the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan).
The earthquakes have sparked panic across the Canary Islands, with volcano experts pulled in to examine the unusual seismic activity.
María José Blanco, director of the National Geographic Institute in the Canary Islands, said the island has "never recorded a similar swarm" and although the energy levels are low and very deep, it is different from the seismic activity they have recorded so far.
The Ministry of Territorial Policy, Sustainability and Security of the Government of the Canary Islands, respecting the Special Plan for Civil Protection and Emergency Care for Volcanic Hazards, will meet with the Scientific Committee of Evaluation and Monitoring of Volcanic Phenomena, to evaluate the data obtained from monitoring stations on the island.
A scientific team of five will also visit La Palma to keep track of the tremors in situ.
Ms Blanco said the team will start to increase the number of seismic stations in the volcanic monitoring network in a bid to develop the geochemical measurements usually carried out in the island of La Palma.
So far, the earthquakes have not been felt by residents because they are occurring at a great depth.
The last significant seismic activity in the archipelago took place in 2011 on the island of El Hierro, which finally led to the eruption of an underwater volcano in the southeast of the island.
The eruption was followed by more than 7,500 earthquakes, which lasted for three months.
La Palma is a volcanic ocean island, which rises almost 7km above the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. There is road access from sea level to the summit at 2,426metres, which is marked by rocks called Los Muchachos.
Instability due to dike intrusion and pressurization of super-heated groundwater from a reawakened Cumbre Vieja volcano destabilizes the western flank of La Palma and sends it into the Atlantic. This is the worst case scenario for La Palma or any other active volcano in the Canary Islands.
Numerical modeling by Ward and Day (2001) quantifies the effects of the large scale, rapid failure of the La Palma along the inferred detachment zone on the west flank. The model of the landslide and subsequent tsunami provides a valuable glimpse at the Atlantic wide impact of such an initially localized event.
The solid lines arrows on the lower left of the graphic above show the Minimum and Maximum width of the Geological Landslide expected to take place from an eruption. It shows a slab of earth, 15 to 25 kilometers wide, and 1-2 kilometers thick, sliding off the island 5-10 kilometers into the sea.
Such a massive slide of earth into the ocean would instantly displace the ocean water, causing an INSTANT TSUNAMI WAVE, which, locally, would be over 1,000 feet tall!
As that wave travels through the ocean, is loses some -- but not nearly all -- of its size. When it finally arrives on the U.S. East Coast, 7 to 8 hours later, a wall of water from 90 feet to 160 feet tall, would come ashore at 650 MPH, destroying EVERYTHING in its path, for at least 12 1/2 miles inland. Nothing can survive.
The Ward and Day (2001) model above uses linear wave theory to model tsunami wave-forms for uniform and non-uniform ocean depth. They specifically envision a landslide block 500 km3, 25 km long, 15 km wide, and 1400 m thick, moving at 100 m/s (Fig. 1). This generalization has its source in the observed volume of individual landslide debris fans in the ocean surrounding La Palma and adjacent Canary Islands.
The following animations by Ward and Day (2001) (click on the images) show the extent of the slide and amplitude and location of the tsunami wave-front as a function of time after the collapse occurs.
The displacement of the landslide material generates a 900 m high dome of water above the descending slide block after 2 minutes. From 10 to 20 minutes the neighboring Canary Islands have been inundated to several hundred meters height. The waves approach the Western Sahara over the next hour as waves 50-100 m stack together and sweep ashore (Ward and Day, 2001).
The brunt of the tsunami traverses the Atlantic Ocean basin, growing in width over the next 5 hours. The coast of western Europe receives 5-7 m waves. Meanwhile, 15-20 m waves strike northern South America while 10 m waves buffet Newfoundland. Along the shallow passive margin of Eastern North America, the tsunami builds to 20-25 m just prior to landfall around 8 hours. Within 11 hours, the Caribbean, North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Central America have been impacted by direct or diffracted tsunami waves (Ward and Day, 2001).
The animation below from the University of Arizona Geological Studies Department shows the Tsunami wave, caused by a collapse-after-eruption of the La Palma volcano in the Canary Islands, sending a wall of water from 60 - 160 FEET TALL, into the ENTIRE eastern seaboard of the continental United States. The wave would travel at 650 MPH up to 12.5 miles inland, utterly destroying EVERY major city on the U.S. East Coast. ALL OF THEM. Nothing would survive.
The animation below, performed by the University of Arizona Geological Studies Department, shows the Tsunami completely crossing the entire state of Florida with 90 FEET of water, then continuing out into the Gulf of Mexico . . . as if Florida wasn't even there! Nothing; absolutely NOTHING in Florida would survive such a wave.
With only 7 to 8 hours warning (at best) I do not know of any way humanly possible, to evacuate the 20.61 Million people living in that state. The death toll would be unimaginable. Here's the animation from the University of Arizona:
The scale of the simulated landslide and resulting tsunami must be kept in perspective. These images result from the absolute worst case scenario i.e. the complete detachment of the largest inferred size of the unstable block of La Palmas volcano. Ward and Day (2001) note that a 250 km3 block, moving 50 m/s, generates a tsunami only 25-40% the size of worst-case. Although this landslide is half the magnitude and intensity, the resultant waves would still match the size and destructive capacity of the recent tsunami in Southeast Asia.
The effects of such a sudden event would be devastating, with the populations of the Canary Islands and the coastal areas of Africa decimated. In Europe and South America, warning time would be greater but likely still insufficient to evacuate the coastal areas. The most publicized effect of such a wave would be that on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The tsunami would impact most coastal areas within 8 hours of La Palma�s collapse. Even with the maximum warning time, it is highly unlikely that all areas at risk for inundation could be sufficiently evacuated. In some cases, the best escape may be vertical, with high rises in New York, Boston, and other port cities used to escape the rising waters.
This is a graphic of the geographic areas from New Jersey northward, showing which areas are located at levels UNDERNEATH the elevation needed to avoid the Tsunami. If you live in an area which shows color, then you need to EVACUATE when told the eruption has taken place and that a Tsunami is coming.
I post this because I am a resident of New Jersey and work in New York City. If you reside in any of the colored areas above, and you fail to evacuate, you will die. Nothing can protect you. Nothing can save you.
This is NOT the only area which would be affected so do NOT be mislead by this graphic. If you reside in ANY PLACE on the U.S. East coast, within 12.5 miles of the shoreline, YOU will be affected by any Tsunami that is created from an eruption/landslide/collapse occurring in the Canary Islands from the La Palma volcano.
Here's the worst part: As word spreads that this is coming, there will be nothing short of absolute chaos. EVERYONE will be trying to leave at the same time. So those who say . . "I've got 8 hours before it hits" and delay their departure, will find themselves literally stuck behind everyone else trying to leave.
Getting out fast and early is the only hope for anyone in Florida, or any of the major cities along the east coast. Can you even TRY to imagine what things will be like when 8.3 million people living in the five boroughs of New York City all try to leave at the same time?
Watch this news carefully. If you live an an area which has even the slightest chance of being affected by this volcano and subsequent landslide/collapse/tsunami, and you hear an eruption has taken place . . . . BUG OUT IMMEDIATELY.