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We’re all going to dieeeeeeeeprobably not

Twenty years ago, some dude wrote a paper about the volcano on La Palma in the Canaries. He thought the West face of the Cumbre Vieja volcano was unstable and, given another eruption, might shear off and fall into the sea.

You know, Cumbre Vieja. The one that’s erupting right now.

If the West face fell into the sea, he estimated it would generate a tsunami that would cross the Atlantic and reach the Eastern Seaboard seventy-five feet high.

Where the silly numbers in the illustration come from, I do not know. I found it here, but there’s no credit.

Only 23 feet for us, though it really doesn’t matter. We’re on the shores of the English Channel and slightly below sea level. A 23-foot wave hitting us might as well be 300 feet. We’d be goners.

There is precedent. They think Doggerland was sunk by a piece of Norway that slid into the sea 8,000 years ago.



Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 22, 2021, 8:03 pm

Nothing like fear porn written by “some dude”.


Large segments of the 1st World media and ‘science’ population seem to be caught up in screaming “BOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOOO!” as many times a week as possible.

Well, when they’re not talking about 1 missing girl, or the alleged misbehaviors of the 1st Mounted Whips cavalry regiment here in Texas.

Making me long for more stories about Kim Kharcrashian or the Prince and the Prostitute.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 22, 2021, 8:18 pm

“we further imagine” – from the text.
My emphasis.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 22, 2021, 8:34 pm

Golly! I sure am glad I’m on the WEST coast of Florida.

*adjusts rose-colored glasses*

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 22, 2021, 9:24 pm

Been watching a live feed of the volcano, it’s hypnotic:


…seems to be a lot of pressure underneath it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 22, 2021, 10:01 pm

That is hypnotic, Quasi. It’s like watching the earth pop a zit.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 22, 2021, 10:21 pm

Volcanoes are fascinating to watch. My Ma always warned about that Canary Islands land slide you referred to above, SWeasy…I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s the thing Ma was talking about.’…hope it’s BS, I have a cousin in Nova Scotia that’d probably get washed away.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 22, 2021, 10:49 pm

None of that can happen until we assemble the cast of trapped tourists, the hero, the cheating husband who’s last noble act is to save his wife from the lava, the Earnest Bourgnine character, the crusty volcanist who’s been warning the resort developer of the dangers, the developer and his teenage ingenue daughter who’s always just one false step from being a crispy critter, etc.

Comment from Mitch
Time: September 22, 2021, 11:26 pm

*God at his computer, contemplates hitting the ol’ SMITE button*

“I mean, they’re practically begging for it these days.”

Comment from BJM
Time: September 23, 2021, 12:18 am

Some dude has a Phd in geophysics and heads the Geophysic division at Oak Ridge…of course, that doesn’t mean that the data hasn’t been misinterpreted or cooked as per global warmening.

Being on the Pacific side I’m more worried about the Yellowstone caldera…or the San Juan Fuca fault.

Comment from BJM
Time: September 23, 2021, 1:34 am

Aha! The graph was published by uber prepper Holly Deyo who has written a number of popular prepper/doomsday books. The original research and peer publishing was done by Some Dude Steven Ward at UC Santa Cruz. A 2015 study indicates that a more moderate 6′ tsunami may occur.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 23, 2021, 12:08 pm

Ah, now the fault I’ll give you. As to the rest of the bi-weekly doom and gloom…exactly what are they proposing we can do other then huddle in fear every day to, for example, stop the caldera, or even prepare for it.

Man plans, God chuckles.

I think they should limit their dire predictions to issues we can address instead of getting people hysterical over essentially cosmic events. Unless of course we’re eager to participate in the plan where we all work together and prepare so the rich and connected can survive while the wave or ash cloud sweeps we worker drones away when it hits.

When your number is up, it’s up.
Sorry I guess this latest virus fear pron fest has just about used up my respect for ‘experts’ of nearly every stripe and especially ones that have been anointed since shortly after the year I was born.

On the bright side, if you’re gluten free and eat 5 pounds of kale every day, you’re guaranteed to live long enough to be annihilated by one of these predictions.


Comment from The extrapolated intelligence of Some Vegatable
Time: September 23, 2021, 2:08 pm

Ah, the famous old “Butterfly Effect” applied to Canaries. I hate extrapolations like this. There is not a single “Known Value” in this projection. We start by guessing how, where, and much of an island will fall into the ocean and how fast. Then we start looking for similar events so we can see how they developed…. Krakatoa? An explosion. Fukushima? An underwater earthquake. 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami? The magnitude 9.1 quake ruptured a 900-mile stretch of fault line where the Indian and Australian tectonic plates meet.

None are suitable for our use here.

So, we guess.

This means we are taking an unknown and then applying a series of unknown impacts to it, and finally ending up with with speculating a 23 foot tidal wave in southern England. Hell, we may as well throw in the effects of the Martian Invaders’ death-ray at that point.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: September 23, 2021, 2:30 pm

@durnedyankee — Yeah, about those “experts” — Whether it’s the propagandists’ bias or that the chosen experts aren’t very expert, the result is that what we hear is most frequently a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. My basis for that assertion is that when “they” report on some expert’s analysis of something I know a bit about, the expert is simply wrong. That happens often enough I think it reasonable to extrapolate that to all reported experts.

Comment from BJM
Time: September 23, 2021, 3:10 pm

@durned..yep…when Horseman turns and points to you.

Donald Rumsfeld summed it up perfectly:

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Another good one: “I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”

Sigh…we’ve gone from men such as he to the dullards of today. BTW- a good read is “Dinner with Churchill”…now there was man who knew the score and how to get what he wanted and what was needed.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 23, 2021, 3:23 pm

Stoaty said: “They think Doggerland was sunk by a piece of Norway that slid into the sea 8,000 years ago.”

There’s a cosmic symmetry in that.

Comment from Drew458
Time: September 23, 2021, 5:40 pm

I read a similar paper the other day. Up to 500 cubic kilometers if the whole thing goes.

Ok, is there some science that could be applied? Like if I put a rock in a bucket of water, the amount the water rises is equal in volume to the rock. Throw a rock in a pond and it makes ripples, which are big at first but then get smaller as the ripples expand. A big enough pond, and the ripples won’t hit the other shore.

Ok, if it takes 6 hours to get to USA at 650mph, that’s 3900 miles. Ripples are circular. Assume the tidal wave is a half circle, radius 3900 miles. 3900 X Pi/2 * 2gives you an arc length of 12252 miles. 500 cubic km is 120 cubic miles. If the wave is a half cylinder in cross section at the surface, it’s volume is Pi*R^2*H/2 = 120 cubic miles. 5280 feet per mile, 12 inches per foot.
Solve for H … 0.16 inches. Even if the force of the landslide made things 100 times worse, we’re looking at a single wave 16 inches tall. Total devastation!!! Not.

It doesn’t add up, unless there’s a lot more to it than just direct water displacement, with the speed of the wave being a function of the volume of landslide.

Comment from Carl
Time: September 23, 2021, 5:50 pm

@Drew458. I haven’t done the calculations but as the wave approaches the coast its height increases.

Comment from drew458
Time: September 23, 2021, 11:55 pm

Carl – yes I’ve read that too, as the wave itself is mostly below the surface, and it shelves up when the water gets shallow. I didn’t look but I bet there’s a “calculate a tidal wave” thing online. I thought I was going in the right direction, as my number was .16 inches and their number was 160 feet; a couple orders of magnitude and a unit of measure. I calculated the wave as being only on the surface

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: September 24, 2021, 1:53 pm

A, uh, interesting bit on “where to hide from exploding hand grenades” in a pool or on a concrete pool deck was done by a couple of science ‘clowns’. (I don’t know why people are playing with live grenades by their pools these days 🙂 )

They demonstrate why the guy who dives away from the deck grenade has a much higher potential for survival, exposing his feet and lower torso (OUCH!) than the other guy who went into the pool.
And they give a very nice visual demo using balloons of the effect of the non-compressibility of water, and how the shock wave when it hits a human, translates out into a compression blast against human soft tissue, body cavity and especially the lungs and brain (Again, OUCH)

Point here being – the idea of how water isn’t compressible so it would carry, as has been sadly demonstrated in our life times.

Sure, water is not compressible, but it doesn’t multiply out as it expands either. Every square foot that shoves against other standing square feet is diminishing the force, and currents have to have some impact on this too.

Oh, and there’s a good movie done on the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami that makes you extremely grateful for not being caught in one – “The Impossible (2012)”. Check it out if you haven’t seen it. The portrayal of force of nature is incredible, and the humanity of people coming together in the aftermath was refreshing even though it was a horror show.

Comment from BJM
Time: September 24, 2021, 3:54 pm


Oh…that Butterfly Effect”…never mind.

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