Volcano Watch: The Canary Islands “mega-tsunami” hypothesis, and why it doesn’t carry water

  • Photo courtesy Radio Televisión Canaria La Palma is a basaltic shield volcano in the Canary Islands. Like Hawaiian volcanoes, La Palma typically erupts lava flows. This aerial photo shows lava flows that are being generated by a fissure eruption upslope on La Palma. One of the lava flows is entering the ocean, creating new land called a lava delta.

The recent eruption on La Palma, in the Canary Islands, has stimulated speculation that the volcano might collapse, creating tsunamis that would devastate the east coast of North and South America. But is such a scenario possible or likely?