The strongest earthquake of the continuous swarm occurred this evening on the southern side of the volcanic island of La Palma. Photo: Istituto Geografico Nacional de Espana / Spanish National Institute of Geography
The Canary Islands Seismic Network recorded at 10:48 p.m. local time / 5:48 p.m. ET a 4.9-magnitude earthquake located at a depth of 17 miles in La Palma where La Cumbre Vieja volcano is still experiencing a large and continuous eruption that continues to send a river of lava to the Atlantic Ocean. This earthquake is one of dozens to hit the erupting island, indicating that more explosive volcanic activity is likely to rock the Canary Island hotspot. As lava flows into the ocean, covering communities and banana plantations as they move from volcanic fissures to the coast, and earthquakes of varying sizes continue to strike the region, there is no local tsunami risk and no tsunami threat along the eastern coast of the United States and Canada in this time.
La Cumbre Vieja volcano came to life on September 19, and erupted lava for the first time since 1971. The largest eruption of the modern era was there; More than 10,000 residents were evacuated while thousands of buildings were devoured by lava.
– The Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) October 16, 2021
A study published in 1999 suggested that La Cumbre Vieja could be in the early stages of failure, as the volcano could collapse on itself. The 2000 BBC television program, “Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction” expanded on the theory, suggesting that failure and collapse of the volcanic island’s western side was possible, which would in turn lead to a massive, devastating tsunami to the eastern coast of the United States. BBC follow-up in 2013 entitled “Can We Survive the Great Tsunami?” He continued to plot the possibility of a massive volcanic collapse and tsunami as a result of that collapse throughout the Atlantic.
Behind the dangers of lava flows is falling deep ash from erupting volcanoes. In the case of #LaPalma, the ash fall can be so deep/heavy that it can cause buildings to collapse. https://t.co/6qGA41txE3
– The Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) October 20, 2021
A “massive tsunami” is a very large wave caused by a large and sudden displacement of material in a body of water. Whereas typical tsunamis arise from underwater earthquake activity in which the sea floor rises or falls and displaces that water, a massive tsunami occurs when a massive amount of material suddenly falls into the water; This can be caused by a large meteor impact or by a large landslide, especially volcanic islands. Whereas a regular tsunami can be as high as 100 feet from a strong earthquake, a massive tsunami can rise from hundreds to thousands of feet. Since a huge tsunami is so huge, it will be able to travel tens of miles inland or even faster.
In 2001, Stephen N. Ward and Simon Day in a research article that the change in volcanic activity that is erupting today and a fracture in a volcano that formed during the 1949 eruption may be a precursor to a giant collapse. They estimated that such a collapse could cause a tsunami across the entire North Atlantic and severely affect the United States and Canada. However, subsequent research has debated whether the tsunami will still be of significant size far from La Palma, as the tsunami wave may rapidly decay away from the source and interactions with the continental shelves could reduce its size further. Some evidence suggests that most collapses in the Canary Islands occurred as multi-stage events that are not effective in causing tsunamis, and a multi-stage avalanche in La Palma would also produce smaller tsunamis.
In the United States, the US Geological Survey was adamant in declaring that a massive tsunami was unlikely. After the volcano began to erupt in La Palma, the USGS tweeted, “Failures have occurred in the Canary Islands, but are very rare, and a local tsunami hazard. The story of the ‘Massive Tsunami’ of the Atlantic Ocean has been completely debunked.” The USGS continues to confirm this position, pointing to an article on the US Geophysical Union’s website that refutes the idea that volcanic activity in the Canary Islands will lead to a tsunami. This article describes the tsunami theory as “a very extreme scenario based on a highly improbable set of unprecedented events.”
While a collapse of La Palma seems unlikely, the risks of earthquakes and volcanoes are very real and ongoing. The island, with a population of 85,000, remains at risk of more powerful earthquakes and possibly more active fissures and lava flows.
– The Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) September 19, 2021
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