Category Archives: __1. Disaster

Tornado Survival

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Tornado survival)

A.  Tornado: A deadly natural disaster!
The Midwest portion of the United States has the worst tornadoes in the world, with Kansas and Oklahoma being the two most affected states, while Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and North Texas following follow closely behind.

A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.
In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide.

Tornadoes can happen any time of the year and any time of day. In the southern states, peak tornado season is from March through May. Peak times for tornadoes in the northern states are during the summer. A few southern states have a second peak time for tornado outbreaks in the fall. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Planning for a Tornado
When a tornado is coming, you have only a short amount of time to make life-or-death decisions. Advance planning and quick response are the keys to surviving a tornado.
Conduct tornado drills each tornado season. Practice getting to your shelter from different areas of the house. Practice this at night, as well as during the day. Practice with your pets, if you have any, so they too can become comfortable with the escape plan.

Develop an emergency communication plan
In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), have a plan for getting back together.

Tornado Watches and Warnings
It is very important that you discuss with your family members the difference between a “tornado watch” and a “tornado warning.”
A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. This is time to remind family members where the safest places within your home are located, and listen to the radio or television for further developments.
A tornado warning is issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.

Tornado Danger Signs: Learn these tornado danger signs:
•  An approaching cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible.
•  Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
•  Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

B.  What You Need to do BEFORE a Tornado Strikes
Whether or not you decide that you need a shelter in your house, you can take two important steps to protect yourself and your family during a tornado:
1)  Prepare an emergency plan
2)  Put an emergency supply kit together.

If you decide to install a shelter, your emergency plan should include notifying local emergency managers and family members or others outside the immediate area that you have a shelter. This will allow emergency personnel to quickly free you if the exit from your shelter becomes blocked by debris. You should also prepare an emergency supply kit and either keep it in your shelter or be ready to bring
it with you if you need to evacuate your house. Some of the items that the emergency supply kit should include are:

  • an adequate supply of water for each person in your household
  • non-perishable foods that do not have to be prepared or cooked (if these include canned goods, remember to bring a can opener!)
  • a first-aid kit, including necessary prescription medicines
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Tools and supplies
  • flashlight (do not bring candles or anything that lights with a flame)
  • battery-operated radio
  • cellular phone or CB radio
  • list of telephone important telephone numbers (work numbers, schools, Grandparents, etc.)
  • extra batteries
  • camera and film for recording the damage after the tornado. DO NOT attempt to take pictures of the tornado! tornadoes are unpredictable and deadly!
  • wrench (to turn off household gas and water)
  • clothing and bedding
  • portable toilet
  • Special items:
    • for baby – formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk
    • for adults – contact lenses and supplies, extra glasses
    • for pets – food, leashes, Rescue Remedy calming drops
      (available at local health food stores)

C.   What You Need to do AFTER a Tornado Strikes   

  • Help injured or trapped persons
  • Give first aid when appropriate. Don’t try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage–both to the house and its contents– for insurance purposes.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance– infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

D.  Inspecting utilities in a damaged home

  • Check for gas leaks–If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off  the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

You can get more information about emergency planning from American Red Cross (ARC) and FEMA publications

E.     Fujita Tornado Intensity Scale

Category F0, Gale tornado, (40-72 mph) Light damage
Some damage to chimneys; break branches off trees; push over shallow-rooted trees; damage to sign boards.
Category F1, Moderate tornado, (73-112 mph) Moderate damage.
The lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peel surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads. (Hurricane Ike at Lufkin, TX)
Category F2, Significant tornado,  (113-157 mph) Considerable damage.
Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated.
Category F3, Severe tornado, (158-206 mph) Severe damage
Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off ground and thrown.
Category F4, Devastating tornado (207-260 mph) Devastating damage
Well- constructed houses leveled; structure with weak foundation blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
Category F5, Incredible tornado (261-318 mph) Incredible damage
Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distance to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 yards; trees debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.

F.  Storm Shelters
Look below to see how Storm Shelters manufactured from inferior materials compare!

Storm Shelter Information

[Internet image, above left: Twister Safe: a) Basic safe room = 5′ X 8′ X 6’4″ = 40 sqft.= $5586.00, b) Larger safe room  6′ X 8′ X 6’4″ = 48sqft. = $6195.00
Image, above right: The Yard Bunker is installed 60 inches below ground with a 2 foot mound of dirt over the top. This fiberglass unit repels water, has a high gloss interior, and is easy to maintain. The large entry door and full size molded stairway makes for easy access, with molded seating for 8 to 12 people. <>]

[Internet image, above left: Steel storm shelter
Image, above right: Concrete storm shelter ]

G.  Tornado realities
News: Tornado outbreak second deadliest in U.S. history- 27 April 2011
Posted: Apr 30, 2011 9:01 AM CDT Updated: Apr 30, 2011 9:46 PM CDT
(RNN) – As the death toll keeps rising, a destructive storm that swept through the Southeast and killed more than 350 people is so far the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history.
Authorities and FEMA administrators said the fatality numbers from the devastating severe storms across the South have climbed to 354.
“Large tornado outbreaks like these are very rare,” said Russell Schneider, director of the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. “But during the days of the storms they seemed all too common, and these were very strong, violent tornadoes.”
The largest death toll was on March 18, 1925, with 747 people being killed by storms that ripped through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

[Internet image of 3 of the many tornados that ripped across the South on Wed. 27 April 2011. Left>
right  images: Tuscaloosa, AL;  north Texas; Ringgold GA.]

Thousands have been injured, and untold more have been left homeless, hauling their belongings in garbage bags or rooting through disgorged piles of wood and siding to find anything salvageable.

While Alabama was hit the hardest, the storm spared few states across the South. Thirty-four people were reported dead in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 7 in Virginia and one in Kentucky. With search and rescue crews still climbing through debris and making their way down tree-strewn country roads, the toll is expected to rise.

“History tells me estimating deaths is a bad business,” said W. Craig Fugate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, in a conference call with reporters. Cries could be heard into the night here on Wednesday, but on Thursday hope was dwindling. Mayor Walt Maddox said that the search and rescue operation would go for 24 to 48 more hours, before the response pivoted its focus to recovery. “They’re looking for five kids in this rubble here,” said Lathesia Jackson-Gibson, 33, a nurse, pointing to the incoherent heap of planks and household appliances sitting next to the muddled guts of her own house. “They’re mostly small kids.”

[Top image: April 27th tornado tracks shown on US map.
Bottom image: Aerial view of one tornado’s track on the ground.]

President Obama announced that he was coming to Alabama on Friday afternoon, saying in a statement that the federal government had pledged its assistance. Gov. Robert Bentley toured the state by helicopter along with federal officials, tracking a vast scar that stretched from Birmingham to his hometown, Tuscaloosa. He declared Alabama “a major, major disaster.” “As we flew down from Birmingham, the track is all the way down, and then when you get in Tuscaloosa here it’s devastating,” Mr. Bentley said at an afternoon news conference, with an obliterated commercial strip as a backdrop.

An enormous response operation was under way across the South, with emergency officials working alongside churches, sororities and other volunteer groups. In Alabama, more than 2,000 National Guard troops have been deployed.

Across nine states, more than 1,680 people spent Wednesday in Red Cross shelters, said Attie Poirier, a spokeswoman with the organization. The last time the Red Cross had set up such an elaborate system of shelters was after Hurricane Katrina, a comparison made by even some of those who had known the experience firsthand. “It reminds me of home so much,” said Eric Hamilton, 40, a former Louisianan, who was sitting on the sidewalk outside the Belk Activity Center, which was being used as a Red Cross shelter in south Tuscaloosa.

Mr. Hamilton lived in a poor area of Tuscaloosa called Alberta City, which residents now describe merely as “gone.” He wiped tears off his cheeks. “I’ve never seen so many bodies,” Mr. Hamilton said. “Babies, women. So many bodies.”

Officials at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said they had received 137 tornado reports on Wednesday, with 104 of them coming from Alabama and Mississippi. Over all, there have been 297 confirmed tornadoes this month, breaking a 36-year-old record.

Southerners, who have had to learn the drill all too well this month, watched with dread on Wednesday night as the shape-shifting storm system crept eastward across the weather map. Upon hearing the rumble of a tornado, or even the hysterical barking of a family dog, people crammed into closets, bathtubs and restaurant coolers, clutching their children and family photos.

Many of the lucky survivors found a completely different world when they opened their closet doors.
“We heard crashing,” said Steve Sikes, 48, who lives in a middle-class Tuscaloosa neighborhood called the Downs. “Then dirt and pine needles came under the door. We smelled pine. “When you smell pine,” he said, gesturing, by way of a conclusion, toward a wooden wreck behind him, so mangled that it was hard to tell where tree ended and house began.
Some opened the closet to the open sky, where their roof had been, some yelled until other family members pulled the shelves and walls off them. Others never got out.
Pasted from <>













Internet images from various states struck by the April 27th tornados.


Looters, con men plague tornado-torn US South
May 4, 2011 at 2:04 PM, Associated Press APISON, Tennessee
(AP) — The crooks walked up to Kenneth Carter’s tornado-damaged property with the purposeful air of relief workers in need of an all-terrain vehicle like the one he had parked out back. “They said, ‘Excuse us, we’ve got to get this four-wheeler out of here,'” said the 74-year-old Apison resident. “I said, ‘I don’t think so — that four-wheeler belongs to me!”

Carter avoided becoming a victim, but authorities say the South has been plagued by a variety of swindles since the twister outbreak last week that ripped apart houses and killed 329 people in seven states. Looters have carried off televisions, power tools and prescription pills. Elsewhere, there are unscrupulous businesses are charging double for a tank of gas or jacking up the cost of a hotel room.

Authorities also warn of construction workers who leave with the cash before opening their tool kit and the danger that identities could be stolen off wind-blown documents.

Though the region has seen similar scams after hurricanes and the Gulf oil spill, the speed of flimflam men this time around has surprised authorities and survivors. “We have received a surprising amount of calls,” said Noel Barnes, consumer protection chief for the Alabama attorney general’s office. “We’re not going to allow people to further victimize our citizens.”

Some residents are packing firearms to scare off the lowlifes. In Alabama, Mike Capps was guarding his parents’ house over the weekend with an M-1 carbine rifle. Capps, 41, said he returned to the site the day after Wednesday’s tornadoes, leaving his parents in the hospital. Walking up Dogwood Lane, he saw a man carrying a rolled-up power cord that looked familiar. Then he noticed the cord had his own name on it. “I said, ‘If your conscience will let you live with what you just did, then you’ve earned that cord.’ And he kept on walking,” Capps said.

Later Capps noticed a group — six adults with children — on the far side of the lot, going through a plastic bag of his mother’s prescription bottles. They were shaking them to see which held pills.

“What are you doing in my house? It’s time to go,” Capps says he told them, and the group complied.

In nearby Birmingham, looters took a woman’s flat screen TV off her wall, while to the west thieves swiped a $150 saw from the remains of Claude Patterson’s welding shop, his livelihood. Elsewhere, stolen items have included the equipment utility companies are using to try to restore power.

Police in several of the states have charged people with looting, though officials said they aren’t keeping statewide numbers on those arrests. Tuscaloosa’s mayor on Wednesday ordered five more days of an 8 p.m. curfew to curb crime in the most heavily damaged areas, to be enforced by police and National Guard troops. The city that was hit the hardest by the outbreak is also going to start credentialing volunteers to prove they are legitimate.

Marauding thieves aren’t residents’ only concern. The attorney general’s office in Alabama has received nearly 1,800 phone calls complaining about price gouging, Barnes said. The complaints include $2 bags of ice being sold for $5, $400 generators being sold for $1,600 on the side of the road, hotels jacking up
their prices and unfair gasoline prices. Just across the border in Tennessee, authorities were investigating a complaint that a service station was charging $40 for $20 worth of gasoline.

Both states have laws against price-gouging. In Alabama, businesses are prohibited after disasters from increasing the price of items for sale or rent by 25 percent or more above the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days.

Dozens of Tennessee gasoline stations were charged with price gouging following Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008. Settlements totaled more than $175,000.

This week, Tennessee investigators were urging victims to upload digital pictures of questionable prices to photo-sharing sites, then submit the links through a complaint form on the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance website, spokesman Christopher Garrett said

Officials said they were also receiving reports of another disaster-zone scam: construction crews that offer to repair homes, then disappear with the money after doing shoddy work or none at all. And they warned that criminals might collect confidential information scattered in the debris to use in identity

Among the cruelest scams has been criminals impersonating relief workers to steal from tornado survivors. Authorities in Alabama’s northern Lawrence County have charged three men and a woman with that crime. Rusty Snyder, 34, said he was stunned by how quickly the thieves moved in after Wednesday’s storms.
“It happened at 8:45 at night, and by 10 there were looters,” he said.
Pasted from <>

1 Comment

Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster


( Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Tsunami)

  1.  Danger: Massive subterranean methane gas bubble could erupt in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil Gusher: Danger of Tsunamis From Methane?, 21st June 2010, mi2G Global
Risk Specialists,  London, UK.
A new and less well known asymmetric
threat has surfaced in the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher. Methane or CH4 gas is being released in vast quantities in the Gulf waters.

[Internet image of a nuclear explosion at sea. We can imagine a sudden release of methane, under extremely high pressure, in the Gulf of Mexico might appear similar to the explosive column of air and water seen above.]

Older documents indicate that the subterranean geological formation below the “Macondo” well in the
Gulf of Mexico may contain the presence of a huge methane deposit. It has been a well known fact that the methane in that oil deposit was problematic. As a result, there was a much higher risk of a blow out.
More than a year ago, geologists expressed alarm in regard to BP and Transocean putting their exploratory rig directly over this massive underground reservoir of methane. Warnings were raised before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that the area of seabed chosen might be unstable and inherently dangerous.

Methane and Poison Gas Bubble
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found high concentrations of gases in the Gulf of Mexico area. The escape of other poisonous gases associated with an underground methane bubble
— such as hydrogen sulfide, benzene and methylene chloride — have also been found. Recently, the EPA measured hydrogen sulfide at more than 1,000 parts per billion (ppb) — well above the normal 5 to 10 ppb. Some benzene levels were measured near the Gulf of Mexico in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 ppb — up from the normal 0 to 4 ppb. Benzene gas is water soluble and is a carcinogen at levels of 1,000 ppb according to the EPA. Upon using a GPS and depth finder system, experts have discovered a large gas bubble, 15 to 20 miles wide and tens of feet high, under the ocean floor. These bubbles are common. Some even believe that the rapid release of similar bubbles may have caused the sinking of ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle.

50,000 to 100,000 PSI
The intractable problem is that this methane, located deep in the bowels of the earth, is under tremendous pressure. Experts agree that the pressure that blows the oil into the Gulf waters is  estimated to be between 30,000 and 70,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Some speculate that the pressure of the methane at the base of the well head, deep under the ocean floor, may be as high as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff valves and safety measures were only built for thousands of psi at best. There is no known device to cap a well with such an ultra high pressure. Current engineering technology cannot contain gas that is pressurized to 100,000 psi.

By some geologists’ estimates the methane could be a massive 15 to 20 mile toxic and explosive bubble trapped for eons under the Gulf sea floor. In their opinion, the explosive destruction of the Deepwater
Horizon wellhead was an accident just waiting to happen.

Fissures or Cracks
According to geologists, the first signs that the methane may burst its way through the bottom of the ocean would be manifest via fissures or cracks appearing on the ocean floor near the path of least resistance, i.e., the damaged well head. Evidence of fissures opening up on the seabed have been captured by the robotic midget submarines working to repair and contain the ruptured well. Smaller, independent plumes have also appeared outside the nearby radius of the bore hole. When reviewing video tapes of the live BP feeds, one can see in the tapes of mid-June that there is oil spewing up from visible fissions. Geologists are pointing to new fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor.

Bubble Eruption
A methane bubble this large — if able to escape from under the ocean floor through fissures, cracks and fault areas — is likely to cause a gas explosion. With the emerging evidence of fissures, the tacit fear now is this: the methane bubble may rupture the seabed and may then erupt with an explosion within the Gulf of Mexico waters. The bubble is likely to explode upwards propelled by more than 50,000 psi of pressure, bursting through the cracks and fissures of the sea floor, fracturing and rupturing
miles of ocean bottom with a single extreme explosion.

Cascading Catastrophe Scenarios
1.  Loss of Buoyancy
Huge methane gas bubbles under a ship can cause a sudden buoyancy loss. This causes a ship to tilt adversely or worse.
Every ship, drilling rig and structure within a ten mile radius of the escaping  methane bubble would have to deal with a rapid change in buoyancy, causing many  oil structures in its vicinity to become unstable and ships to sink. The lives  of all the workers, engineers, coast guard personnel and marine biologists — measuring and mitigating the oil plumes’ advance and assisting with the clean up — could be in some danger.

2.  First Tsunami with Toxic Cloud
If the toxic gas bubble explodes, it might simultaneously set off a tsunami travelling at a high speed of hundreds of miles per hour. Florida might be most exposed to the fury of a tsunami wave. The entire Gulf coastline would be vulnerable, if the tsunami is manifest. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southern region of Georgia might experience the effects of the tsunami according to some sources.

“The ultimate Gulf disaster, however, would make even those historical horrors  pale by comparison. If the huge methane bubble breaches the seabed, it will  erupt with an explosive fury similar to that experienced during the eruption of  Mt. Saint Helens in the Pacific Northwest. A gas gusher will surge upwards  through miles of ancient sedimentary rock – layer after layer – past the oil  reservoir. It will explode upwards propelled by 50 tons psi, burst through the
cracks and fissures of the compromised sea floor, and rupture miles of ocean bottom with one titanic explosion.

The burgeoning methane gas cloud will surface, killing everything it touches,  and set off a supersonic tsunami with the wave traveling somewhere between 400 to 600 miles per hour. A supersonic tsunami would literally sweep away everything from Miami to the panhandle in a matter of minutes. Loss of human life would be virtually instantaneous and measured in the millions. Of course the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and  southern region of Georgia – a state with no Gulf coastline – would also experience tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Loss of property is virtually incalculable and the days of the US position as the world’s superpower
would be literally gone in a flash…of detonating methane.

While the entire Gulf  coastline is vulnerable, the state most exposed to the fury of a supersonic wave
towering 150 to 200 feet or more is Florida. The Sunshine State only averages about 100 feet above sea level with much of the coastline and lowlands and swamps near zero elevation”
The 3 paragraphs immediately above are  from the article, How the ultimate BP Gulf disaster could kill millions, by Terrence Aym, <>

3.  Second Tsunami via Vaporization
After several billion barrels of oil and billions of cubic feet of gas have been released, the massive cavity beneath the ocean floor will begin to normalize, allowing freezing water to be forced naturally into the huge cavity where the oil and gas once were. The temperature in that cavity can be extremely hot at around 150 degrees Celsius or more. The  incoming water will be vaporized and turned into steam, creating an enormous force, which could actually lift the Gulf floor. According to computer models,
a second massive tsunami wave might occur.

The danger of loss of buoyancy and cascading tsunamis in the Gulf of Mexico — caused by the release of the massive methane and poisonous gas bubble — has been a much lower probability in the early period of the crisis, which began on April 20th. However, as time goes by and the risk increases, this low probability high impact scenario ought not to be ignored, given that the safety and security of the personnel involved remains paramount. Could this be how nature eventually seals the hole created
by the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher? ”

2.  Methane Gas Explosion in the Gulf Could Kill Millions,
1 July 2010, Associated Content, by Dave Jackson
“…The worst case scenarios are truly horrific. If this methane gas bubble ruptures the sea floor and unleashes itself, the devastation and loss of life would be unprecedented in human history. The loss of life would not be limited to oil field and spill cleanup personnel – millions of lives all across the Gulf States could be at terrible risk.

The amount of water displaced by such a methane gas bubble could easily generate a tsunami – likely of a magnitude that humanity has never seen before. A gigantic cavity would be left where the
methane existed – which  would immediately flood with sea water. Because of the extreme depths of the methane gas bubble, the temperatures are far above the boiling point of water. The icy sea water would explosively convert to steam, increase in volume dramatically, and erupt upwards to cause a second and possibly even larger tsunami.

Looking at an elevation map of the Gulf and eastern seaboard of the United States, it’s clear to see what kind of devastation a tsunami would cause. The gentle incline of the regions sea floor would force the tsunamis height to increase exponentially as it approaches the coast. The loss of life could very well be in the millions, making the Sumatra tsunami look trivial. Estimates for an earthquake generated tsunami in the region show 35 million lives could be in peril.

3.  Cumbre Vieja and the US East Coast
There is the possibility that any time an eruption of volcano of Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands could cause a massive landslide creating a mega-tsunami which travel across the Atlantic in about 9 hours and send a 30-70 foot tall wave across the East Coast of the US from Boston to Miami and into the Caribbean traveling up to 20 miles inland.

The volcano’s last eruption in 1949 made its western flank highly unstable. It could literally split apart next time the volcano erupts, however, has shown no signs of activity since that eruption.

Scientists say the entire area of unstable slope may not fall at once. Instead, smaller landslides may occur over time. These landslides would produce waves one-fourth to half the height of the mega tsunami.

 Tsunami: Low Probability, High Impact Event

There is much variation between estimates on how high the Tsunami would be when it hit the US east coast, depending on the size of the landslide, between 98 feet and 197 feet. Surges could reach 600 feet
depending on shore line characteristics.

Monitoring might at best provide two weeks warning of the disaster.
“Cumbre Vieja (Spanish: Old Summit) is an active volcanic ridge on the volcanic ocean island of Isla de La Palma in the Canary Islands, near Africa. This ridge trends in an approximate north-south direction and covers the southern third of the island. It is lined by several volcanic craters.  It is currently the most volcanically active of the Canary Isles. Historical eruptions on the Cumbre Vieja occurred in 1470, 1585, 1646, 1677, 1712, 1949, and 1971.

The 1949 eruption
During the 1949 eruption, three vents – Duraznero, San Juan and Hoyo Negro opened and lava was
erupted. Also during the eruption two earthquakes occurred with epicenters near Jedy. Following the earthquakes a fracture approximately two and half kilometers long – about 1/10th of the exposed length of the Cumbre Vieja, opened and parts of the western half of the Cumbre Vieja ridge moved about 1m sideways and 2m downwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. The fracture is still visible (2008) and still has the same dimensions recorded in 1949.

The 1971 eruption
The 1971 eruption occurred at the southern end of the Cumbre Vieja at the Teneguia vent. The
eruption was mainly strombolian in style. Lava was also erupted. Such seismic activity did not occur during the 1949 eruption. Residual thermal activity continues.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC2 Channel) transmitted “Mega-tsunami; Wave of Destruction”, which suggested that a future failure of the western flank of the Cumbre Vieja would
cause a “mega-tsunami.”

Computer modeling indicates that the resulting initial wave may attain a local amplitude (height) in excess of 1,969 feet and an initial peak to peak height that approximates to 1 mile, and travel at about 621 mph (approximately the speed of a jet
aircraft), inundating the African coast in about 1 hour, the southern coast of England in about
3.5 hours, and the eastern seaboard of North America in about 6 hours, by which time the initial wave would have subsided into a succession of smaller waves each about 98 feet to 197 feet high. These may surge to several hundred yards in height and be several miles apart, but retaining their original speed. The models of Day et al., and Ward and Day, suggest that it could inundate up to 16 mile inland. This would greatly damage, or destroy, cities along the entire North American eastern seaboard. The physical damage would take tens if not hundreds years to repair and restore. The economies of the countries affected would likewise take several years to return to the pre-inundation levels.

Leave a comment

Filed under Survival Manual, __1. Disaster