Mega Tsunamis: The Oceans Deadliest Weapon Essay

1268 words - 6 pages

Mega-Tsunamis: The Oceans Deadliest Weapon

Every single minute of every passing hour, our oceans have the potential to cause catastrophic damage and disaster. With its vast beauty and bountiful resources, the wild ocean comes with a handful of rare geological time-bombs. Once unleashed, they can create an extravagant phenomenon. Gigantic mega-tsunami form, these giant waves are able to cross oceans and demolish cities and countries on the opposite side of the earth. Thanks to modern technology and globalization, we have been able to capture some of the more recent tsunamis and their destruction. For example, the footage of the destruction of the tsunami that caught Japan by surprise in ...view middle of the document...

These events are bound to happen, whether in our life time or not--they will take place, and catastrophic damage will almost always be the end result.
On July 9, 1958, a giant landslide at the head of Lituya Bay in Alaska, caused by an earthquake, generated the highest ever recorded wave. The initial height of this mega-wave was 525 meters tall (1,719), and surged over the opposite side of the bay (Miller). Luckily, this was not a much inhabited area of Alaska, and only killed two people. Another recorded mega-tsunami occurred in 1792 in Japan. The volcano, Mount Unzen, erupted causing a section of the volcano to collapse into the ocean. The landslide caused a waved that reached 100 meters high and killed 15,000 people in a local fishing village. Five years later, a landslide above the Vajont Dam in Italy produced a 250 meter wave that easily toppled over the dam, destroying the villages of Lonarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova, and Fae, taking nearly 2,000 lives with it. On May 18, 1890, Washington State’s volcano, Mount St. Helen, lost the upper 460 meters of its peak. This created a massive avalanche which surged into the Spirit Lake. This caused a mega-tsunami which pushed the lake waters in a series of waves. The maximum height of this wave reached 260 meters (854 feet). Luckily this event only destroyed surrounding forests along the Lake. Although a lot of lives and villages have been lost due to mega-tsunamis, scientists have predicted future events that will generate waves that could kill tens of millions, demolish countries, and even level out islands completely.
The future eruption of Cumbre Vieja, located on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, is one of the more relevant and by far the most concerning phenomenon for Floridians. In 1949, the volcano erupted at its vents in Duraznero, Hoyo Negro, and San Juan. During the eruption an earthquake took place near La Palma. Geologists discovered a fissure (an extensive crack, break, or fracture in the rocks) about 2.5 kilometers long had opened on the eastern summit. As a result, the western half of the volcano shifted about 2 meters downwards and about a meter westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean (Days). This was a very scary discovery. It is hypothesized, that when the volcano is to erupt again, the west side of the volcano has the potential to fail; fail meaning collapse into the Atlantic Ocean. The estimated mass of 1,500,000,000,000 metric tons would slide into the ocean creating a monster of a wave. If this were to occur, the mega-tsunami is predicted to create an initial height of at least 1000 meters (3,300 feet), and by the time it made land fall it...

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