Appalling as the World Trade Center bombing was, it's absolutely nothing
compared to the apocalyptic event that is yet to come. Somewhere over the
next stretch of time, New Yorkers will have to deal with a HUGE tidal wave
of biblical proportions. Meet the La Palma Megatsunami -- and shiver. Try
to surf this: a wave almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building, and
traveling faster than an airplane, at a breathtaking 700 kilometers per
hour. Enough to give you the creeps, right? Well, it should. For the
question is not if such a massive wave will one day slosh across the oceans
And there's more disturbing news. If the Doomsday Wave kicks in, it'll be
end of story for the US East Coast. New York City: gone. Boston: washed
away. Florida, Miami, the Bahamas -- all history. Oh, several hundreds of
years may pass before the Super Wave rolls in. But on the other hand, it
could happen next month as well.
It all starts with a faint rumbling of the earth, thousands of miles away.
Near the African shore, the volcanic island of La Palma will rumble with
seismic activity, announcing yet another eruption of the Cumbre Vieja
volcano on the southern half of the island. But this time, the unstable
western flank of the volcano doesn't hold. A huge chunk of the island simply
breaks off and drops into the Atlantic Ocean. Plunge! No; PLUNGE!
Immediately, up rises a tsunami. And not just a tsunami: the sea is pushed
up something like 650 meters, as 500 billion tons of rock and debris hit the
ocean. Witnesses to the event will see how a massive wall of water towers up
and starts sloshing westwards across the Atlantic, at the astonishing speed
of over 700 kilometers per hour. Destination: US East Coast.
Now that will bring about some stress on the other side of the Atlantic.
New Yorkers and millions of other inhabitants of the US coastal region will
hear about it on the radio: within eight hours, the entire east coast will
be splashed away! Hundreds of millions of Americans will get the hell out to
escape the wet cataclysm, turning every city and every road in the area into
Flush! - By the time the La Palma wave hits the US, it is 'only'
something like 50-80 meters high -- and twenty kilometers long.
Some people will hope the Megatsunami will just break down by itself. But
the La Palma tsunami isn't just the next dull wave. It will pass storms
unscathed, and bombs won't do it much harm either. You see, the Megatsunami
we're dealing with is an endless wall of water that stretches out across the
entire Atlantic! Not exactly the kind of wave that easily breaks down.
Then, after eight hours, the incredible happens. At the US shore, all water
suddenly recedes, as it is 'sucked up' by the wave to come. You will be able
to see the bottom of the ocean for hundreds of meters ahead. But your
attention will be caught by something else: this huge wall of water, that's
moving in on you a lot faster than you think might be good for your health.
As it closes in on the steep coast, the tsunami will grow and grow some
more, until it is perhaps several hundreds of meters high. Seconds later, it
impacts. With unimaginable force, billions of gallons of water slam into the
coastal areas. Skyscrapers snap, bridges are ripped to pieces and outside
the cities, forests and villages are swept away. And obviously, if you're
still around, it's only likely you're killed in the whole show. The La Palma
wave will push twenty kilometers into the land: since the wave is so long,
more and more water will be pushed land inwards, until the entire wave has
finally rolled onto the shore.
Next, the water mass withdraws. With unimaginable force, the wave is sucked
back into the ocean, dragging with it everything and everyone it encounters.
So one moment you're high and dry; only minutes later, you find yourself
floundering in the Atlantic, well away from the shore. In effect, the
tsunami will wash the coastal area clean. And although it won't really bring
about the end of life on our planet, millions will die -- not to mention the
total disruption of the world when the urban heart of America is swept away.
And by the way, the Americans aren't the only ones affected. More
southwards, the Middle and Southern Americas will be struck. Calculations
show Europe will suffer as well. The southern part of England will be
inundated. Parts of the low lying Netherlands will be flooded. Some parts of
the French and Spanish coasts will be severely hit. In Europe too, many
thousands will die.
Like almost every apocalyptic scenario described here on Exit Mundi, the one
with the tidal wave is nothing really special in Earth's history. You see,
it's quite normal for a volcanic island to collapse every once and a while.
That's why on several occasions in our prehistoric past, giant killer waves
rolled over the seas, bringing about doom and destruction everywhere they
Ohau island, Hawaii.
Many times in history, big chunks of Hawaii plummeted into the sea. The
biggest event occurred 2 million years ago, when a piece of rock ten times
as big as the Mount Everest broke off the island of Ohau. Result: a HUGE
tsunami, hundreds of meters high and tens of kilometers long.
Cape Verde island.
80,000 years ago, the West coast of Africa was rinsed clean, as another
massive tsunami hit it at nearly full force. One hour earlier,a massive chunk
of the Cape Verde island had plunged into the sea.
4,000 years ago, the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean snapped in half.
Another megatsunami popped up. Several hours later, it slammed into the
coasts of Australia.
Water fury: Some (in)famous megatsunami events. On many occasions, huge
tsunamis swept over the continents -- these are only a few we know of.
And La Palma? Only recently scientists realised that the ideal conditions
for the next landslide exist on the island. Actually, in 1949, an eruption
of the Cumbre Vieja almost triggered the La Palma disaster. The volcano
erupted, the weaker half of the island dropped down four meters -- and
halted. It was only in the nineties geologists realised what a close call it
No-one knows if the island is able to withstand the next volcanic eruption.
Gladly, we'll know several weeks in advance the Cumbre Vieja is about to go
berserk again. But then again, will our governments take the warnings of the
geologists seriously enough if it gets that far? Will they be willing to
evacuate the entire US East Coast and large parts of Europe, following the
advice of only a handful of scientists? Somehow, Exit Mundi doubts it.
Perhaps the killer wave will take us by surprise after all.
Collected by CiH, late summer, 2002..
This excellent piece came with a number of other 'end-of-the-world' scenarios
which you can find on the nicely done 'Exit Mundi' website. There are several
feasible and exotic ways in which this could all meet a sticky demise. Feel
up to reading about how totally a 'Super-Volcano' can fuck everything up for
you, your friends and relatives? Then check out the URL below..