Articles Volcanic & Seismic Activity 

Intensifying Seismic Crisis at La Palma Volcano: Mega-Tsunami Potential

The seismic crisis at La Palma of the past few days continues with no signs of slowing.

More than 250 sizable quakes were detected during the past 24 hours, and more than 3000 in total have been logged over the past 4 days, reports volcanodiscovery.com.

During the past 24 hours, earthquakes have been moving westwards and have become shallower, reveals data coming out of the National Geographic Institute (IGN). This is a concerning development, and likely indicates continued magma intrusion and migration under the surface, a contention which is also supported also by the continued deformation of the surface in the same area as the quakes — in places, the ground has been uplifted by 1.5 cm (almost one inch) already.


The likelihood of an eruption has thus increased, continues the volcanodiscovery.com report — earthquake swarms are often an indication of an impending eruption.

Furthermore, this week’s swarm is occurring at the south of the island — the worst possible location (for reasons explained below).

Locations of recent quakes under La Cumbre Vieja volcano [www.ign.es].


Additionally, and according to the most recent update, the quakes are becoming shallower.

This is another sign of an impending blow-off.

A magnitude 3.2 quake popped-off early Wednesday morning at a depth of just 4 km.

This can be seen at the large green signal on the seismic trace graph:

Seismic traces of quakes under La CUmbre Vieja volcano (La Palma, Canary Islands) (image: IGN)


Many already know the threat that La Palma poses.

And many models have simulated the catastrophic aftermath of an eruption.

According to a study conducted by Steven Ward and Simon Day:

“Geological evidence suggests that during a future eruption, Cumbre Vieja Volcano on the Island of La Palma may experience a catastrophic failure of its west flank, dropping 500 km3 of rock into the sea. Using a geologically reasonable estimate of landslide motion, we model tsunami waves produced by such a collapse. Waves generated by the run-out of a 500 km3 slide block at 100 m/s could transit the entire Atlantic Basin and arrive on the coasts of the Americas with 10-25 m height.”

This is a very dangerous volcano, and not for the reason most volcanoes are concerning (i.e. particulate ejection). La CUmbre Vieja on the island of La Palma threatens to send a 80+ foot tsunami washing over the entire eastern seaboard. In fact, the majority of Atlantic coastal towns and cities could be washed away — including those in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the UK, Portugal, and all of western Africa.

Watch the simulation of Ward’s and Day’s study for more information (made in 2012):


You likely won’t hear of this event via the mainstream media.

I very much doubt they’ll even inform you if the volcano actually blew its top.

And that’s because the MSM’s aim is not to keep you informed, or to give you a heads-up regarding real-world threats; instead, its purpose is to manage your behavior and to keep you controlled. Needless to say, controlling the 8.5 million inhabitants of New York City, for example, in the event of inbound 80 ft high tsunami would prove problematic. It has actually been suggested that informing people of an incoming wave could lead to more lives lost, as the ensuing chaos would likely prevent the informed few from escaping (due to jammed roads, etc.).

This is an ongoing event.

So stay tuned for updates.

We also await to see what impact the incoming space weather has on the seismic swarm.

According to Dr. Tony Phillips of spaceweather.com, confidence is growing that a coronal mass ejection (CME) might graze Earth’s magnetic field on Sept 17, possibly sparking minor G1-class geomagnetic storms.

The CME (shown below) left the sun on Sept 13, and was propelled outwards by an exploding filament of magnetism.

Tracking this CME has been tricky, because in coronagraph imagery it overlapped two other storm clouds.

However, confidence is growing that it could deliver Earth at least a ‘glancing blow’.


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9 Thoughts to “Intensifying Seismic Crisis at La Palma Volcano: Mega-Tsunami Potential”

  1. The Mronz

    Fascinating content with this site as always.

    A La Palma slip has been lurking at the back of geologists’ minds for over a century.
    How interesting to see more evidence of subsurface magma becoming further agitated as the planet absorbs extra CME radiation.

    1. AZ1971

      Agreed, fascinating content indeed.

      I’ve kept tabs on the Cumbre la Palma volcano for close to two decades now. The idea it would transit the entire Atlantic basin under 8 hours’ time and inundate the entirety of the eastern seaboard is fascinating and horrifying at the same time. The complete pandemonium it would cause for evacuees, the HUGE loss of life, and an even bigger loss of property, means it’s a black swan event that could collapse the insurance industry and potentially bankrupt the country.

      There are similar echoes in the lack of a major (>7.0 mag) earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area for well over 100 years. With the extent the region has built up in infrastructure as well as population, any repeat of the 1906 San Francisco quake would result in absolute chaos. We as humans are powerless against these sorts of events, but they don’t get the attention they deserve because they’re unpredictable.

      News flash: neither is the future with climate change, despite what alarmist pundits would have us believe otherwise.

    2. matt dalby

      I vaguely remember seeing a T.V. program about A La Palma slip years ago. The basic theory was that fossilised sea shells found on the flanks of the volcano showed that it had happened before (the shells didn’t get to where they are by long term uplift as they were lying on volcanic rather than sedimentary rock). What has happened before is likely to happen again, although I haven’t seen any estimates regarding the chance of it happening in our lifetimes. It may be in the same category as an eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano i.e. it has happened before, will happen again but the chances of it happening in any given year are pretty small (1 in 700,000 for Yellowstone according to the latest estimates). In both cases nobody knows the sequence of events that preceded the last major event so it’s impossible to know if current events are typical of the build up to a major disaster.

    3. prioris

      When I lived near the coast around vero beach in mid florida, i studied the past tsunami. There is low ground everywhere. both sides of florida coast would be hit hard . If it ever occurred, i knew what the escape route was and where highest ground in area. It would flood 20 miles inland. water would recede in 3-4 days..

      The one near puerto rico would hit with 10 foot wave and maybe go 1 mile inland at most so not really threat..

      Just know what your escape route would be and what you should take with you if it ever happened. Also you have less than 7-9 hours to get to safety. Planning on spur of the moment is not smart.

      I think La Cambra is low risk otherwise.
      it may be another 500K years before it happens again.
      Currently live inland in Maine.

  2. David Alexander Barnett

    Somehow I think the authorities would give up the ghost with Covid and Climate Change if this happened…it would “solve” their “over-population problem” in one go.

  3. Chester Kalinoski

    The water surge entering NYC HARBOR will funnel and rise very high. Flood the underground electric and the NYSE stock market. You will have 7 hours to sell otherwise you on dry land will still be wiped out

    1. prioris

      The large buildings around harbor are very protected. Just have to get high enough.
      The financial institutions just have to make sure their financial data is backed up.

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