Is New York at risk from the Canary Islands?

A variant on the earthquake/tsunami question asked over here.

I seem to recall reading that one of the Canary Islands has an unstable mountain that may fall apart suddenly into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that could seriously damage New York. Am I remembering that right?

I have trouble understanding that idea. I would have thought that the effect of even a major landslide into the ocean would have been dissipated in all directions around the site of the slide, rather than focussed in one direction. Plus, the Atlantic is a big ocean. Would the effect of the slide really be felt that dramatically on the eastern seaboard?

You’re thinking of the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge. This section of the Wikipedia article addresses the possibility of a megatsunami occurring.

The scenario doesn’t involve a wave directed specifically at New York; West Africa and Western Europe would also be devastated if such a catastrophic event were to occur. Transit times to Africa, England, and the US Eastern Seaboard are estimated at 1 hour, 3.5 hours, and ~6 hours, if the doomsayers are to be believed.

Thanks for the link to the article - so it’s not just East Coast - that makes sense.

But now I’ve got another question. How high is the risk factor? It sounds like some researchers have expressed this concern, but it doesn’t sound main-stream?

Can we, maybe, send someone to destroy that volcanic ridge?

Compared to all other oceans except the Pacific, yes.

Thus triggering the tsunami?

It might be difficult to destroy it without triggering the very thing we were trying to prevent.

Plus, I imagine the Canary Islanders are quite attached to their volcanic ridge and wouldn’t be too impressed if the Marines turn up to destroy it.

Isn’t this one of the principles of the Bush administration?

I dunno, maybe it could be done VERY slowly and VERY carefully.

Just talking out of my ass here.

Moderator Warning

You’ve been around long enough I can’t imagine you are ignorant of the rule against political jabs in GQ, especially since it’s been clarified in the new GQ Rules sticky above. Do not do this again.

General Questions Moderator

The whole reason that the tsunami would be so devastating is because the rock mass in question measures about 500 cubic kilometres and has an estimated mass of 1.5 x 10^12 metric tonnes. Not the sort of thing you can just bulldoze.

“Twice the size of the Isle of Man” is a figure I saw, for example.

So we couldn’t, like, put up a bunch of chain link fence to catch it when it falls, like you see on cliff faces along mountain roads?

[Roy Schneider]We’re gonna need a bigger avalanche fence.[/Roy Schneider]

My apologies. :smack:

You should hear some of the things I say in inappropriate forums IRL!