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Monday, September 15, 2008


According to the Discovery Channel (August 8, 2005) and substantiated by a National Geographic Channel hour on “The Ultimate Tsunami” (June of 2007):

o Vasilios Lykousis of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research reports that historically, waves as high as 20 meters (66 feet) have been caused by earthquakes, and that the Corinth Rift, separating the Peloponnese from Greece is the most active seismic zone in Europe.

o Yildiz Altinok of Istanbul University reports that 100 tsunamis affected Turkey in the past 3,000 years, and a destructive earthquake can be anticipated in the Marmara Sea.

o The most recent tsunami in Italy occurred in December 2002 from a Stromboli Volcano slope failure creating a 10 meter (33 feet) wave. The 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius earthquake/eruption which buried Pompeii caused a tsunami, as reported by Pliny the Younger. The biggest current worry is 9,900 Mt. Marsili (Europe’s biggest volcano), located between Campania and Sicily Sea.
o Fogo Volcano, on Cape Verde, an Atlantic archipelago, located off the coast of Senegal, Africa, has been feared by Simon Day of the University College London, to suffer flank instability, which, if a chunk slid into the sea, could create a mega tsunami.

o Similarly, Cumbre Vieja Volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, also off West Africa, is a particular concern for Simon Day and Steven Ward of the University of California. A combination eruption and landslide with a speed of 350 kilometers per hour would have an energy release equal to 6 months of electricity consumption in the U.S. Tsunami waves of up to 650 meters (2132 feet) would be created with a wavelength of 40 km (25 miles), traveling to West Saharan shores at an amplitude of 100 meters (328 feet), and Florida at up to 50 meter waves, eight hours later. On October 12, 2000, BBC2 showed, “Mega-tsunami: Wave of Destruction,” about this potential disaster, which became a most controversial TV program. This program is updated with regularity and again was shown in June of 2006.

o California is a potential target from submarine landslides. A West Coast seeking tsunami created by Mauna Loa Volcano could run up to 18 meters (60 feet) according to Gary McMurtry of the University of Hawaii. Dr. McMurtry mentioned to me that he would speculate that the Nuuanu Landslide (I live on Nuuanu Avenue) should have created a much larger tsunami, but there is no physical evidence remaining.

o The Cascadia Subduction Zone, stretching from Vancouver Island to northern California, is suspected of being able to produce a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which would almost surely produce something approaching a mega-tsunami. Yes, the reference is a novel, but this whole chapter started with a similar premise for Six Hours to Seattle, my future novel on this subject after The Venus Syndrome.
Ike is now somewhere in Canada and beyond. The death toll in the U.S. was similar to that of the train wreck near Los Angeles this past weekend, both around 25, should increase over the next few days, but not exceed Ike deaths in the Caribbean. Otherwise, Typhoon Sinlaku, now at 75 MPH, has left Taiwan, after causing considerable flooding, and, while originally heading straight for China, made a right turn, and now is moving in the direction of Japan.
The price of crude dropped to $94/barrel. Gasoline prices, though, thanks to Ike, are surging. The Dow Jones Industrials sunk 504 to 10, 918, mostly due to the financial market crisis.


Anonymous said...

The La Palma Tsunami story is based on incorrect information and wild speculation. There is NO scientific evidence supporting it and statements by McGuire (Days boss) about a 4 metre slip in 1949 are a gross misrepresentation, actually a blatant lie. McGuire calls himself Disasterman and makes money from 'popular' (non-scientific) books about the end of the world.
Many specialist scientists dismiss Ward and Days speculation as ridiculous. Spanish vulcanologists protested to the BBC about the program, but were ignored.

Sheila, Canary Islands said...

Ward and Day were funded by an American firm which just happens to sell tsunami insurance. And most scientific research is checked by other scientists before publication - it's called peer review. Ward and Day didn't bother with that; they went straight to the "documentary".

More information at:
The Tsunami Risk

Patrick Kenji Takahashi said...

Dear "anonymous" and Sheila:

I, of course, agree with you both. On the other hand, there is sufficient support for Day/McGuire to keep the controversy barely alive. For me, I just needed a comparative Atlantic threat, as unreal as La Palma is. The Hawaii induced mega tsunami is a lot more far-fetched that the next step will be a creative novel: SIX HOURS TO SEATTLE.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Patrick, but there is NO support for Day/Ward/McGuire expect their own reports and wild speculation. I know of no other reputable scientist who supports them, in fact the people I have contacted are angry at the non-scientific scaremongering and blatant refusal of peer-review. No European or American organisations take the La Palma threat seriously because it has no basis in scientific fact.
Prior to the making of the 'documentary' more than 90 world experts met on The Canary Islands to discuss (among other things) a catastrophic block-slide. They all conluded that it was so unlikely that the meeting decided it was not significant ... all except Day/Ward who made a lucrative disaster movie.
There is no evidence and no support for Day/Ward and especially McGuire.