Expert slams wave threat inertia

A scientist has attacked the inaction over a threat from a dangerous volcano in the Canary Islands which could send a tidal wave crashing against the US.
Bill McGuire of the Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre said no one was keeping a proper watch on the mountain.
If Cumbre Vieja volcano erupts, it may send a rock slab the size of a small island crashing into the sea, creating a huge tidal wave, or tsunami.

Walls of water 300 feet high would travel to the US at the speed of a jet. Within three hours, the wave would swamp the east coast of Africa, within five hours it would reach southern England and within 12 it could hit America·s east coast.
The rock is in the process of slipping into the sea, but the trigger that sends it into the Atlantic is likely to be an eruption of Cumbre Vieja. According to Professor McGuire,

Cumbre Vieja could blow “any time”.
We need to raise awareness, identify threats and improve surveillance Bill McGuire, Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre
New York, Washington DC, Boston and Miami would be almost wiped out by the tsunami generated by the insecure rock falling into the Atlantic.
“Eventually, the whole rock will collapse into the water, and the collapse will devastate the Atlantic margin,” said Professor McGuire, of the Benfield Grieg Hazard Research Centre.
“We need to be out there now looking at when an eruption is likely to happen…otherwise there will be no time to evacuate major cities.”
The two or three seismographs designed to pick up signs of movement in the rock could not detect a volcanic eruption weeks in advance, McGuire said.
He urged the governments of Spain and the US to fund monitoring of the volcanically active La Palma – a project he said could be achieved relatively cheaply.

Global strategy
Professor McGuire and other experts speaking at a news conference on natural disasters recently said the global community needs to monitor and develop strategies to cope in the face of a catastrophe such as the one that Cumbre Vieja could cause.

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