300 Foot Tsunami and East Coast Destruction
‘Hierro’, a volcano, an island of the Canary Islands of Spain named ‘El Hierro’, summits at 1500 meters (4,900 feet), and has suddenly become highly active with more than 700 earthquakes in just a matter of days – leading some to believe that ‘something’ is about to happen.
About El Hierro:
After three successive eruptions, and consequent accumulations, the island emerged from the ocean as an imposing triangular pyramid volcano. El Hierro has the largest number of volcanoes in the Canaries with over 500 open sky cones, another 300 covered by the most recent outflows, and some 70 caves and volcanic galleries.
130,000 years ago (some reports say 50,000 years ago), seismic tremors produced massive landslides at El Hierro as a giant piece of the island split off and crashed down into the ocean, scattering along the seafloor. The submarine landslide, which consisted of approximately 300 cubic kilometers of earth, resulted in the creation of the huge amphitheater of the El Golfo valley, and more importantly caused a super tsunami that most likely rose over 100 meters high, 300 feet, and probably reached as far away as the American coast.
Trying to imagine a 300 foot tall tsunami is nearly unimaginable. Knowing the devastation that was caused by the recent tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, which themselves reached heights ranging between 20 and 50 feet, and the devastation that followed… A 300 foot tsunami… is something that we have never seen.
The devastation would be so extreme, so severe, so dire, that we assume that it would never happen in our lifetime. After all, the worst that most people have ever seen is probably a fender bender in the grocery store parking lot. A 300 foot tsunami is strictly reserved for the cinema.
The reality is that the odds of such an occurrence is truly quite low. However we cannot escape the sometimes random behavior of the geophysical world that we live in. While some of it is predictable, other events simply occur in wide ranging windows of time… disastrous events that could unleash at any given moment within a window of hundreds or thousands of years.
‘If’ Hierro were to shake itself to the point of another huge chunk of the island plunging into the sea, the potential super tsunami would reach European shorelines in an hour or few, while the US east coast would probably be inundated in 6 hours.
Knowing that the recent major tsunami in Japan traveled 4.000 miles across the Pacific to produce an approximate 3 foot tsunami on some areas of the US west coast, the approximate ratio was 10:1 as the wave reached the US coastline. There are many factors that are at work to determine tsunami height, and this is highly over-simplifying the formula – the point is that if this were to be a similar case on the US east coast, which is 3,000 miles from the Canary Islands, the tsunami height could be 30 to 40 feet – while some suggest even higher.
This would completely cover most of Long Island New York, Cape Cod Massachusetts, much of New York City, Boston, and countless other cities and towns up and down the east coast harboring millions upon millions of people. How about the state of Florida which is only feet about sea level… Unthinkable.
Why mention this? What can we do about it anyway?
It’s good to simply be aware of the possibilities, which may lead to further preparedness by some who’ve never thought of it before. We’re all about preparedness here, while tempering the doom and gloom – but at the same time being aware of what is currently happening in the world while still measuring against the odds. Given the 700+ tremors at Hierro, who’s to say more of the island won’t slump into the sea and produce a worst-case-scenario?
Update, July 29
20 new earthquakes during the past 24 hours on location at El Hierro. Magma is probably on the move.
Update, September 30
POLICE have moved residents and tourists from houses at the foot of a volcano on Spain’s Canary Islands after a growing series of earthquakes raised fears of an eruption.
A local resident: “I have never felt shaking like it…I notice it especially at night. We can also hear a rumbling and sounds from deep down.”
The Spanish National Geographic Institute has recorded 8,000 tremors since July 19.
Update, (October 17)
The El Hierro eruption is almost to the surface of the ocean as geysers, steam, and a broiling roiling sea is observed while at the same time a strong smell of sulfur…
image source: Canaries News
Video showing that the eruption is ready to break the surface
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