Last week, a historic volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands erupted for the first time in 50 years — and is now entering a “new explosive phase,” according to Reuters.
And as recently as Saturday, boiling lava was still blasting from the top of the volcano — causing the forced evacuation of almost 6,000 residents over the last week and the closing the island’s airport over the weekend.
There have been some theories floating around that the volcanic eruption might cause an enormous tsunami that could hit the East Coast of the U.S. Luckily, those have been proven…false!
According to USA Today, who debunked the theory, its inception started way back in 2001 when two professors (one from the University of California, Canta Cruz and the other from University College in London) published a research paper positing that an eruption of Cumbre Vieja could trigger a massive landslide that in turn would cause a tsunami that could make its way to the U.S.
As the volcano erupted last week, spewing lava and causing mass smoke and ash and the evacuation of residents, the prediction made its way around social media again.
Soon after the natural disaster, however, experts in the field reassured the public that Americans wouldn’t have to fear the effects:
Collapses have happened in the Canary Islands, but they are very very rare, and the tsunami threat is local. The "mega tsunami" story for the whole Atlantic has been thoroughly debunked (for instance, https://t.co/qRt1Hs01PV).
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) September 19, 2021
And apparently, this theory tends to reemerge whenever there is a volcanic eruption on the island.
But in order for an actual tsunami of that size to be triggered, the volcano would either have to grow another 1,000 meters (which would take about 40,000 years) or a huge volcanic eruption would have to occur at the same exact time as a giant earthquake. The odds of that happening are “extremely remote, according to geological records of this type of event on the island,” the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute (Instituto Volcanológico de Canaria) said.