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Alive 6

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

But when..

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 
total chaos.

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
hit land.

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.

Reunion island.
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
really was.

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..

Alive 6