According to a recent study of the Cape Verde Islands in West Africa, scientists have discovered convincing evidence that a megatsunami has occurred in the area once – and that it could possibly strike again in the future.
These experts claim that a part of Fogo volcano collapsed about 73,000 years ago and it eventually generated a massive 800-foot tsunami which swept an entire island located over 30 miles away.
Fogo volcano’s flank crashed into the sea many years ago and it triggered a super tsunami.
The research was published today, October 3, in Science Advances journal and it pointed out that collapsed volcanoes can really cause major catastrophes.
Now known as Santiago Island, the tsunami-stricken area now has 250,000 residents.
Ricardo Ramalho, lead author of the study, said:
“Our point is that flank collapses can happen extremely fast and catastrophically, and therefore are capable of triggering giant tsunamis. They probably don’t happen very often. But we need to take this into account when we think about the hazard potential of these kinds of volcanic features.”
Besides, Cape Verde’s Fogo volcano is one of the biggest and most active island volcanoes in the world. At present time, the volcano measures 9,300 feet above sea level and erupts almost every 20 years.
Fogo remains to be one of the world’s largest and most active island volcanoes.
Although other scientists are doubting Ramalho’s research, tsunami expert Bill McGuire of the University College London finds the study very interesting. He said that the study “provides robust evidence of megatsunami formation [and] confirms that when volcanoes collapse, they can do so extremely rapidly.”
McGuire likewise added:
“The scale of such events, as the Fogo study testifies, and their potentially devastating impact, makes them a clear and serious hazard in ocean basins that host active volcanoes.”
McGuire is not involved in Ramalho’s project in any way.
Ramalho admitted that such a catastrophy may not be “as rare” as we think.
While Ramalho declared that he is not saying that the megatsunami will happen soon, he still has this to say:
“It doesn’t mean every collapse happens catastrophically. But it’s maybe not as rare as we thought.”
Ramalho’s research is for his postdoctoral associate for the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Columbia University.
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