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Science & Technology

Volcanic collapse created 800ft tidal wave

By T.K. Randall
October 4, 2015 · Comment icon 11 comments

The volcano could be on the verge of another collapse. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Pascal Givry
A volcanic disaster that created an enormous tidal wave could potentially occur again in the near future.
73,000 years ago a large volcano on the Cape Verdean island of Fogo suddenly collapsed, producing a huge wave several hundred meters high that decimated nearby islands.

Since then however the volcano has been gradually growing back to its original size and now scientists are concerned that something similar could be on the verge of happening again.

The enormous wave was produced by what is known as a 'flank collapse' which occurs when the volcano's slopes collapse in to the ocean like a gigantic landslide.

"Our point is that flank collapses can happen extremely fast and catastrophically, and therefore are capable of triggering giant tsunamis," said scientist Dr Ricardo Ramalho.
"They probably don't happen very often. But we need to take this into account when we think about the hazard potential of these kinds of volcanic features."

Right now the volcano on Fogo has risen to 2,743 metres above sea level - enough to create a similar disaster if another flank collapse were to occur again in the present day.

The last time this happened the resulting tidal wave was more than six times the height of the devastating tsunamis that hit India's coast in 2004 and eastern Japan back in 2011.

Tsunami expert Prof Bill McGuire believes that this event occurs once every 10,000 years.

"The scale of such events, as the Fogo study testifies, and their potentially devastating impact, makes them a clear and serious hazard in ocean basins that host active volcanoes," he said.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (11)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Immune to Bieberfever 9 years ago
Conclusion? Well eventually planet Earth will get to cope with this again, and since the mayority of mankind lives in coastal regions instead of the much rougher mountanous or desertlike regions i am afraid that it Will pass over us like the lava over Pompej, but hey at least it willl be over in a second!
Comment icon #3 Posted by docyabut2 9 years ago
I believe I read Cape Verde is on the verge of a collapsed again.
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
I see articles of people saying.... PREPARE!! But what the Hell. What can someone, say.... in Los Angles, really do? There's no where for them to go really, maybe up a tall building, but if you have like 10 minutes warning, really all you can do is log onto facebook and post a fairwell, and text some loved ones before the wave gets you.
Comment icon #5 Posted by psyche101 9 years ago
170 Meters seems high, what are we talking here, from Sea Bed?
Comment icon #6 Posted by socrates.junior 9 years ago
170 Meters seems high, what are we talking here, from Sea Bed? They say at shoreline, so sea level. (Which is also the sea bed at that point but I don't think that was the point.) And a potential wave run-up of 100 m further, to 270 m.
Comment icon #7 Posted by DONTEATUS 9 years ago
That's a big Tsunami indeed !,But Its possible,Just Like the Thousand year record flood in S.C. USA. I didn't know that we had Record keeping 1,000 years ago ? well it is S.C afterall .Big tales and Big-Foots and such !
Comment icon #8 Posted by Doug1029 9 years ago
That's a big Tsunami indeed !,But Its possible,Just Like the Thousand year record flood in S.C. USA. I didn't know that we had Record keeping 1,000 years ago ? well it is S.C afterall .Big tales and Big-Foots and such ! We've now had two thousand year floods in two years (Colorado 2013). Doug
Comment icon #9 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
That's a big Tsunami indeed !,But Its possible,Just Like the Thousand year record flood in S.C. USA. I didn't know that we had Record keeping 1,000 years ago ? well it is S.C afterall .Big tales and Big-Foots and such ! Did the President come visit after Katrina... errr... I mean Joaquin....
Comment icon #10 Posted by psyche101 9 years ago
They say at shoreline, so sea level. (Which is also the sea bed at that point but I don't think that was the point.) And a potential wave run-up of 100 m further, to 270 m. LOL, you are onto it Cheers, that seems incredible, I didn't think they got that high.
Comment icon #11 Posted by socrates.junior 9 years ago
LOL, you are onto it Cheers, that seems incredible, I didn't think they got that high. Me neither! But their maths looked good to me. Definitely crazy the size of the boulders getting swept along in this.


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