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The Coming Atlantic Mega-Tsunami

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the something-will-kill-you dept.

Science 1068

rbrander writes "It's not news at all that scientists predict an eventual "mega-tsunami" that will sweep across the Atlantic that will still be anything from 60 to 150 ft high when it hits the U.S. Eastern seaboard. This Old News, however, suddenly seems fresh. Like an asteroid hit, it could be millenia away, or tomorrow, that a volcano in the Canary Islands just off Africa drops half a trillion tons of rock into the Atlantic. A short description of the problem from BBC News and some more graphic descriptions (of up to 100 million dead) and shrewd commentary on the politics of warning from journalist Gwynne Dyer."

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Oh Damn! (2, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 10 years ago | (#11211570)

... and here I just bought a bungalow on the Jersey shore.

Re:Oh Damn! (2, Funny)

StalinsNotDead (764374) | about 10 years ago | (#11211587)

I just bought a bungalow on the Jersey shore.

From what I've heard, it's more than just the water you'd have to worry about there.

Re:Oh Damn! (1)

detour207 (838058) | about 10 years ago | (#11211684)

Yes unfortunately there's a large amount of trash wandering the beaches and boardwalks along the jersey shore. Beware meatballs wearing speedos and silicone wearing bikinis.

Re:Oh Damn! (4, Funny)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | about 10 years ago | (#11211711)

Suddenly I don't feel so bad about living in Missouri.

Seems like true (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211581)

This might be true, but is US ready?

Re:Seems like true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211671)

Uh...hell no. How the shit is that post insightful?

Re:Seems like true (3, Funny)

nearlygod (641860) | about 10 years ago | (#11211680)

No WE is not ready.

Re:Seems like true (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | about 10 years ago | (#11211770)

RTFA. No, we're not ready, because we choose not to be.

Paraphrasing the article:

A warning would result in the possibility of evacuating tens of millions of people for what could be weeks or months and maybe nothing will happen. Nobody wants to do that.

OTOH, nobody wants to get the warning, not order an evacuation, and be responsible for millions of deaths.

So the "smart" politician's winning game is to not set up the systems where there would be a warning. So there are not enough seismometers to know if there's something about to happen.

Re:Seems like true (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | about 10 years ago | (#11211775)

It sounds like no one could be ready - the wave would just be too big. All that could be hoped for is an evacuation, and we don't even have early warning systems in place for that.

What really worries me is the possibilities for a terrorist to place a small nuclear bomb there. With a small weapon, placed in a low-security location, a single act of terror could destroy New York, Washington, Boston, etc. - the entire eastern seaboard!

Bad Article? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211582)

isn't this a dupe?

Early warning (1, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 10 years ago | (#11211589)

At least in the Atlantic, we have an early warning system for Tsunamis and a well developed system of earthquake monitoring that would likely save many lives on the eastern seaboard. All of those expensive homes up on the coast though......

Re:Early warning (4, Informative)

bzebarth (727391) | about 10 years ago | (#11211621)

I don't think that is true. There are 2 systems in the Pacific but because Tsunamis are very rare in the Atlantic there is no early warning system.

Re:Early warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211728)

Yes, the news reports recently have reported no detection system in the Atlantic because large quakes and tsunami are rare there.

Re:Early warning (4, Informative)

OECD (639690) | about 10 years ago | (#11211716)

At least in the Atlantic, we have an early warning system for Tsunamis

Untrue. The Pacific has the only dedicated system (although Tsunamis may be inferred from other equipment like tidal gauges.)

I assume this has been contemplated, but couldn't we cause the threatening hunk of rock to slide in a safer direction? Like cutting down a tottering tree?

Re:Early warning (1)

RealityMogul (663835) | about 10 years ago | (#11211777)

It's a significant land mass, it's not a tree. If we had the power to move it, we could just as easily hold it in place.

Re:Early warning (4, Insightful)

leonscape (692944) | about 10 years ago | (#11211790)

couldn't we cause the threatening hunk of rock to slide in a safer direction? Like cutting down a tottering tree?

Not without destroying most of the Island, plus where talking about a lot of rock here, This is more than just removing the top of some mountain ( which is hard enough ), I think you'd have to go down quite a way to the sea floor. Where talking trillions of tons of rock off an active volcano, which might even distrub it enough to set it off anyway.

How you would do it, who would pay for it, and would the locals let you? are also some of the other considerations.

Re:Early warning (1)

mOoZik (698544) | about 10 years ago | (#11211742)

Tsunami insurance! I mean, really, it may sound silly now, but you'll get the last laugh when your multi-million dollar home is washed away.

Re:Early warning (5, Insightful)

timcrews (763629) | about 10 years ago | (#11211748)

How do you suppose two or three hours of warning would help in the task of evacuating 50 to 100 million people? Take, for example, the recent rash of hurricanes in the southeast U.S. Even with days of notice, the interstate highways out of Florida resembled parking lots.

It seems to me, as with the asteroid collision possibility, that the better (only?) approach is prevention. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to investigate the possibility of gradually, and very, very carefully, relieving the stress on this cracked volcano, so that a 90-second catastrophic slide is replaced with a sustained slow erosion of the material.

There would still be a difficult political situation. It is entirely possible that the stress relief effort would carry its own risks of _causing_ the catastrophe it was designed to prevent. Similar tradeoffs occur in almost any risk mitigation strategy, although seldom with the stakes being this high.

crap (1, Funny)

MrP-(at work) (839979) | about 10 years ago | (#11211590)

i live in ri.. the OCEAN state im screwed

Re:crap (1)

Holi (250190) | about 10 years ago | (#11211699)

Ditto here, but from what I have heard about this we should get about 10 hours lead time before the wave would hit us, pleanty of time to, i don't know, drive to the mountains.

Videos of Asian Tsunami... (4, Informative)

bc90021 (43730) | about 10 years ago | (#11211592)

As anyone who's seen the video's of the Asian Tsunami at video.contemporaryinsanity.org knows, this is not a pleasant thing to contemplate...

Re:Videos of Asian Tsunami... (1)

General Alcazar (726259) | about 10 years ago | (#11211726)

Anyone set up a mirror of the videos? They are getting pretty heavily slashdotted...

Re:Videos of Asian Tsunami... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211772)

nice plug. nice blatant plug.

Heh^2 (1)

Renraku (518261) | about 10 years ago | (#11211593)

Might have something to do with that refurb ICBM in the previous post...

Why Worry? (5, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#11211594)

Natural Disasters... they can happen at any time, in any place, and most of the time there is no warning.

Why the big hub-bub? They happen. Its part of living in this giant green and blue globe. Instead of freaking out and building ourselves fallout shelters, how about we all take time to donate time or effort into helping those that are in need from the last disaster?

Re:Why Worry? (1)

Reducer2001 (197985) | about 10 years ago | (#11211614)

What about moving to places less likely to be affected by a natural disaster?

Re:Why Worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211640)

'cos you'll end up in a tornado zone or move to a future asteroid impact site or be where the plague hits.

Re:Why Worry? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211652)

Whats worse, living in fear of 150 foot waves or having to live in Oklahoma.

Re:Why Worry? (2, Insightful)

wdd1040 (640641) | about 10 years ago | (#11211677)

Like where? No where on Earth is less likely than others, just less likely to experience the same as others.

Like where? (5, Insightful)

gandell (827178) | about 10 years ago | (#11211683)

Where are you going to go? If you're talking U.S., there's potential for bad things to happen no matter where you are. F5 tornadoes...hurricanes...Mt. St. Helens.
Then there's overseas, where unexpected things happen as well, such as this tsunami or sand storms in the Middle East. There's no reason to simply leave...the fact is that you'll die when it's your time. Period. Whether it's by a natural disaster, or cancer, or a car accident.

Re:Like where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211807)

Mount St Helens is pretty remote. The only people it threatens are hillbillies. Mount Rainer on the other hand.....

Re:Why Worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211689)

Winnipeg is pretty good, though it's -40 in the winter. No earthquakes, no tornados, no snow storms... just risk of frostbite/hypothermia in the winter and mild risk of flooding. And risk of picking up a really nasty whore.

Re:Why Worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211718)

might be why lots of american nukes are located in north dakota, about an hour away from winnipeg

Re:Why Worry? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#11211696)

Where would that be? Any place has the possibilities (anything from volcanos to tsunamis to virus outbreak, etc...). Sure, living at the base of a volcano isn't the best idea, but most people don't live in direct danger.

Re:Why Worry? (5, Funny)

Se7enLC (714730) | about 10 years ago | (#11211651)

> Natural Disasters... they can happen at any time, in any place, and most of the time there is no warning.

I always turn off the natural disasters when I play. I hate spending all that time building the city only to have Godzilla come crashing through

Re:Why Worry? (4, Insightful)

Rob Carr (780861) | about 10 years ago | (#11211700)

Why the big hub-bub?

Because everyone decided to not worry about an Indian Ocean tsunami. "It's unlikely to happen anywhere other than the Pacific Ring of Fire" they said.

Now we do the intelligent thing, which is learn from past mistakes. With a watch system like the one for the Pacific, we can mitigate the disaster.

Wouldn't we all feel real stupid if we decided to do nothing and an Atlantic tsunami hit?

Wikipedia (4, Informative)

Andorion (526481) | about 10 years ago | (#11211595)

Here's the Wiki link for a Megatsunami [wikipedia.org] . Here's an excerpt:

"During an eruption that is anticipated to occur sometime within the next few thousand years the western half of the island, weighing perhaps 500 billion tonnes, will catastrophically slide into the ocean. This will inevitably generate a megatsunami which will travel across the Atlantic and strike the Caribbean and the Eastern American seaboard several hours later with a wave possibly 90 meters (300 feet) high, resulting in massive coastal devastation.

Re:Wikipedia (5, Interesting)

Altus (1034) | about 10 years ago | (#11211719)

one has to wonder if we could defuse the problem by putting that mass in the water now, in a controlled manner. couldnt we start blowing off chunks of the island now and minimize the impact of any possible eruption?

clearly you would have to be very careful and the cost would be very high, but if everyone is certain that this mega tsunami is going to happen wouldnt it make sense to spend the money up front rather than on disaster relief?

Re:Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211746)

This is a pretty cool idea, one I haven't heard before... I wonder if this has been considered/discussed before?

Re:Wikipedia (1)

bje2 (533276) | about 10 years ago | (#11211798)

that's a great thought...but, i have a question...even in a controlled manner, isn't dumping 500 billions tons worth of land mass gonna into the ocean gonna cause some water levels somewhere to rise? sure, it won't be all at once in a 300 ft wave (which would be pretty cool), but i'm guessing you'd still be flooding a lot of land...

Re:Wikipedia (1)

nbert (785663) | about 10 years ago | (#11211814)

Well if it's such a big deal why don't we at least consider to ablate the parts which could possibly fall of?

Might sound naive and there might be the risk of triggering the landslip during the process, but wouldn't it be an option? I guess the people living on La Palma wouldn't be happy about it, but if so much is at stake...
(and yes, I've been there so I know that we are talking about moving some rocks)

On a side note there is a giant crack about 2 meters wide and deep going through half of the island. I can't really remember any details, but it was caused by an earthquake and might be a leading sign.

People worry too much. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | about 10 years ago | (#11211596)

If we can't stop it and can't predict when it will happen, I say don't worry about it.

You could get killed by stepping on a candy-bar wrapper and falling down the stairs tomorrow, or die of old age at 95 years, or you could get killed by this giant tsunami. No sense worrying about it.

Re:People worry too much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211653)

Exactly. Life is too short to worry about possible disasters. Live life to the fullest! Have fun! Have a beer! Get laid!

um, scratch the last one... I forgot that this is Slashdot. ;-)

Re:People worry too much. (1)

FLEB (312391) | about 10 years ago | (#11211686)

And if you're into the whole afterlife theory, at least the tsunami means that you'll have quite a few people you know to hang around with while waiting in line.

Re:People worry too much. (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 years ago | (#11211705)

You bring up a fair point... but I think the point of this isn't to instill worry or panic (even though it might), it's to educate people so that if or when they are ever confronted with the imminent approach of this sort of disaster, they might have the sense to get the hell out of there, reducing loss of life.

Re:People worry too much. (1, Redundant)

Skye16 (685048) | about 10 years ago | (#11211744)

How easy would it be for a terrorist (or a nation who doesn't particularly like the US) to set a nuke (or maybe even a large conventional bomb) in or around the volcano and wipe out the entire east coast in one fell swoop?

It isn't mother nature I'm concerned about, it's someone "helping" mother nature along.

that's ridiculous (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 10 years ago | (#11211760)

you CAN do something about the canary island threat: shave the mountain away, bit by bit

the canary island threat is an above-water threat of fixed location, unlike the undersea, underearth, unseen, unlocated threat in the indian ocean, or the more usual suspects in the pacific ring of fire

it would be an enormous task, and cost billions, but after the deadly tsunami in asia, you can bet there might be some real interest in the possibility now

your fatalism makes sense about candy wrappers and death at age 95, but even you would go out of the way to not step on a candy wrapper, if you SAW IT at the top of the stairs, no?

well guess what: we see the canary islands, we don't have to fall down those stairs

therefore, your fatalism is an inappropriate response to the canary islands possibility

Chimichanga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211597)

Lets make chimichangas instead of worrying about this!

1/4 c. bacon grease
2 c. chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 med. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 lg. peeled, boiled potato, diced
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 to 2 tsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. minced, fresh cilantro
12 lg. flour tortillas, warmed
Vegetable oil
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives

In skillet, melt bacon grease over medium heat. Saute meat, onion, garlic, tomatoes, chilies and potatoes; until onion softens. Add salt, oregano, chili powder and cilantro; simmer 2 to 3 minutes.

Place 1/2 cup meat filling on each tortilla. Fold envelope style (like a burrito). Fry, seam side down, in 1/2 inch of hot oil, until crispy and brown. Turn and brown other side. Drain briefly on paper towels.

Place on plate and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Place shredded lettuce around chimichanga and top lettuce with chopped tomatoes and sliced black olives. 12 servings.

Can substitute cooked beef or pork for chicken.

Quoting "Jack" from Fight Club (5, Insightful)

wcitechnologies (836709) | about 10 years ago | (#11211599)

"on a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."

Politicians need to move the capital (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211600)

...to someplace like Kansas City.

On second thought, they can stay in Washington D.C.

Re:Politicians need to move the capital (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | about 10 years ago | (#11211667)

Yeah, totally. SOmething serious needs to happen before anything will be fixed with our government. 100 million dead? Okay, I'll bite.

fuck the east coast yo (0, Troll)

plastic.person (776892) | about 10 years ago | (#11211601)

west coast rappers own

Of course this comes up now. (4, Insightful)

suso (153703) | about 10 years ago | (#11211603)


Why is this news now? Why was this not news when it was first known? Why do most people only care about this as news in the wake of what happened.

Sorry for the double entendre.

Please God let this happen (-1, Flamebait)

AmericaHater (732718) | about 10 years ago | (#11211604)

For the sakes of the World lets hope so. Lots and lots of dead and maimed Americans.


Re:Please God let this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211626)

You do realize that our nukes are in places like South Dakota, right?

Towel head and/or liberal scumbag ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211632)

Osama your momma .... bitch .....

If it happens in the next 4 years ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211608)

It's not news at all that scientists predict an eventual "mega-tsunami" that will sweep across the Atlantic that will still be anything from 60 to 150 ft high when it hits the U.S. Eastern seaboard.

If it happens in the next four years, you can bet that liberals and Europeans will be blaming it all on Bush while thounsands of Arabs dance in the street.

Dan Brown and FUD? (1)

cephyn (461066) | about 10 years ago | (#11211616)

This was in dan brown novel, so its obviously not true. ;)

seriously though, most of the current simulations show that the rock will probably break up before it hits the water, making the water displaced less dramatic. there's still a chance it could hit intact though, so more study is probably needed.

Governments? (3, Insightful)

wdd1040 (640641) | about 10 years ago | (#11211617)

Natural disasters that can affect the whole planet are known to scientists as "global geophysical events" -- gee-gees, for short -- and they come in two kinds: ones you might be able to do something useful about, and ones you can't. When governments are faced with the first kind, they can respond quite sensibly.

Yes, but when have we known the governments to respond sensibly about an upcoming major disaster?

Some bad science in the post (5, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | about 10 years ago | (#11211630)

There's some bad science in the post, especially the comment about the wave being 'still' that high. Most tsunamis are very small out in the ocean, most less then a few centimeters tall.

They don't get big until they approach the shore and the depth gets shallow.

The small waves, btw, travel around the speed of a jetliner, hence the lack of warning.

armageddon (2, Informative)

PureCreditor (300490) | about 10 years ago | (#11211633)

tsunami's this time of 32ft can already kill 100,000 people. if the tsunamis arrive without warning of up to 150ft, it might can wipe out north/south american east coast plus european/african west coast.

Re:armageddon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211723)

In Portugal if no alarm is given,
about 5 million people die (About everyone lives near the coast)

In Spain a large number of people live near the coast too

Queue the fundamentalist bible thumpers.... (1)

teshuvah (831969) | about 10 years ago | (#11211635)

It's the end of the world! Repent and ye shall be saved!

Re:Queue the fundamentalist bible thumpers.... (1)

krymsin01 (700838) | about 10 years ago | (#11211701)

Funny, I feel fine....

I don't think so (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 10 years ago | (#11211779)

If you're truly a bible thumper, you can know that no man can predict the ways of God. Unless of course God told you what would happen to tell others, like Jonah in Ninevah. It also says there shouldn't be any further prophets you should look for. God's calling people to help spread his word, but not for prophesy.

Check out my link, I have a nice logical explaination on how you can analyze the bible. Its good for scientists and tech people who don't buy into the pure faith argument.

They obviously miscalculated.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211641)

Come on guys, with this doom and gloom bullcrap:

If these predicators of fear and loathing in America actually were worth a half a grain of salt, why didn't they see the Asian Tsunami / Earthquake ? Because they CANNOT BE PREDICTED. It's all predicated on history, and like baseball, you have no idea how many homeruns Bonds will hit next year. You won't know until it happens.

That's a fact.

Asteroids, then this... (1)

Olaserov (785074) | about 10 years ago | (#11211642)

If current trends in the likelyhood of natural disasters continue, the chance of this happening will probably be reduced to 1 in 500 million in 3 hours or so.

Is this before or after (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211646)

The coming eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano? Right now I'm on the east coast, so if I move inland and the volcano erupts, I'm screwed.

Re:Is this before or after (1)

FLEB (312391) | about 10 years ago | (#11211721)

...and what about that hidden Midwest-US fault line? Gaaaaaaaaah!

Gwynne Dyer (2, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | about 10 years ago | (#11211647)

Gwynne Dyer is a sharp fellow (Canadian living in the UK). I have met him personally on a few occasions, he tends to have pretty reasonable insights into world politics. I'm not so sure how strong his science is, however. But from what I've seen from him over the years (Globe and Mail, etc.) he does not tend to seek to induce panic in people like many other journalists.

Finally, a good use for Florida (5, Funny)

Lordrashmi (167121) | about 10 years ago | (#11211650)

Florida will protect my home in Texas...

Re:Finally, a good use for Florida (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211806)

Heh. Seems like Florida has been taking care of Texans for, oh, two terms now.

OMG WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!! (0, Offtopic)

b3x (586838) | about 10 years ago | (#11211655)

*sigh* in other news, my colon has anounced that a rather long and gaseous release is impending. possible shortages of toilet paper and fresh air may result.

could fix it? (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about 10 years ago | (#11211659)

nah. Can't be bothered to nuke/dig/TNT the top of the most unstable island bit by bit.

Out of site. Out of mind.


Deanalator (806515) | about 10 years ago | (#11211660)

Remember, according to the patriot act, water and rocks can be terrorists too!

100 million? (2, Interesting)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | about 10 years ago | (#11211673)

There's only 300 million people in the US altogether. No way are 1/3 of them located within a couple kilometers of the East Coast. (Sure it hits non-US locations but also keep in mind that the death rate isn't 100% either.)

Millions od dead Americans ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211674)

Consiting primarily of crackers, niggers, jews and towel heads too.

How about the dreaded Pacfic Tsunami ?? (1)

musterion (305824) | about 10 years ago | (#11211681)

It is possible that the east coast of Hawaii (the big island) couls also catastrophically slide off and generate a wave the wipes the entire West coast as well.

Re:How about the dreaded Pacfic Tsunami ?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211773)

shhh you're gonna ruin next week's story!

Dammit (1)

Swampfeet (758961) | about 10 years ago | (#11211682)

I guess Cape Breton Island isn't as safe as I thought it'd be.

Americans are safe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211691)

Fat floats.

day after tomorrow (2, Interesting)

PureCreditor (300490) | about 10 years ago | (#11211698)

after seeing the images and videos of the waves rushing with no warning into Asian shores, all of a sudden the pictures from "Day After Tomorrow" become vivid of what might happen to New York City if a tsunami created from the center of the Atlantic arrive in the US eastern seaboard.

Except that unlike an asteroid... (2, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | about 10 years ago | (#11211708)

We know where the damned thing is, and can thus take counter measures.

Gee-Gees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#11211709)

I don't know about the rest of you, but these "Gee-Gees" give me the heebee-jeebies.

What if...... (5, Interesting)

FXSTD (468083) | about 10 years ago | (#11211714)

Now that everyones attention is on natural disasters rather than terrorism, let us take this opportunity to combine them....
Could a terrorist set off a bomb large enough to trigger the slide? Seems like this would be an easier target and do more damage than any nuke a typical terrorist could make.

Lame sensationalism. (4, Insightful)

i41Overlord (829913) | about 10 years ago | (#11211724)

It seems that nowadays the news has become entertainment instead of information. Journalists scurry to find ways to make The Next Big Headline (tm). Instead of finding ways to make people feel better or do something to help those that need it, they try to find ways to surprise and upset people- anything that will make people watch their channel or read their newspaper.

Now in the wake of a real natural disaster, all the journalists are hopping on the "tsunami disaster" bandwagon. They're thinking "how can I apply the fear from the disaster which just took place on the other side of the Earth to my own hometown? I bet that'll sell a lot of papers!"

Summary- there seems to be a big market for profiting from fear and doom 'n gloom predictions and not a very big market for helping people.

This would be the greatest weapon ever. (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | about 10 years ago | (#11211729)

Imagine a terrorist organization that detonates a bomb in the fissure. It is the stuff movies are made about. (Indecentlally if you are a movie maker you can buy that idea off me) You'd nail every country you hate and then some. But the problem is it only works once, so it is not good for terrorism per se.

The solution is the same as the problem. I would fracture the land mass and incrementally slide it in to the ocean. Several planned tsunamis are better than one big unplanned one.

I do not know if it is possible, but with that death toll and desvistation, it looks like we should get some geologists down there to see if it can't be done. It is resy though, you don't want to trigger the whole thing. Perhaps, it could be divided horizontally to remove the downward stress, rather than splitting slices off vertically?

Re:This would be the greatest weapon ever. (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 10 years ago | (#11211795)

You might want to read 'State of fear', especially if you're a 'global waming' sceptic (Michael Crichton would appear to be...)


I wonder... (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | about 10 years ago | (#11211749)

It's not news at all that...

So why is it being posted on a news website? I realise this has been brought to attention by recent events, but does it really need front page posting?

Saw this on Drudge 2 days ago (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 10 years ago | (#11211752)

When will Slashdot have some News, instead of being just an RSS aggregator with commentary?

Oh, well... (5, Funny)

mogrify (828588) | about 10 years ago | (#11211754)

... there go the blue states :(

Preventing the catastrophe (1)

laukev7 (666245) | about 10 years ago | (#11211756)

Isn't there a way to blow up that island in advance, so that the tsunami will be entirely predicted and planned? Like, put some explosives at several strategic places, and blow them up one at a time to divide the mega tsunami into many mini tsunamis.

It might be a REALLY long and REALLY expensive process, but the costs would be less than the casualties and enormous economical damages a tsunami would cause. How about using all those bombs for something useful, instead of dumping them on Iraqis?

Weaponized Tsunamis? (1)

SlideGuitar (445691) | about 10 years ago | (#11211765)

So how long before the US government or Osama figures out that a nuclear bomb or (maybe) even a good chunk of high explosives trigering a landslide can be used as a weapon of mass destruction... a delivery system if you will?

Whoops. Quick delete this post before Osama reads it. Nah, his folks are just as smart as me.

You don't have to get close to the US with your big bomb... just send the wave across the sea. However I suspect that the power unleashed by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake is much larger than any inexpensive nuclear device they could lay their hands on.... but if a nuclear device could trigger a huge landslide.... well then.


Very interesting.

I feel pretty safe in Portland Oregon, possible erruptions of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood aside.

But coastal Oregon and the Pacific region? The Atlantic seaboard?


Wave Height (5, Informative)

bzebarth (727391) | about 10 years ago | (#11211769)

that will sweep across the Atlantic that will still be anything from 60 to 150 ft high when it hits the U.S. Eastern seaboard

I heard an interview with someone from NOAA with the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seatle that described what happens when a Tsunami occurs. He said when the wave travels through deep water it has tremendous speed (hundreds of mile/hour) but is only a few feet high. As it comes into shallow water the wave slows down to 10s of miles/hour and that causes the huge wall of water. So a Tsunami is not really a 100 ft wave as it travels through the ocean only once it nears land.

Just my $.02.

Tsunami Tsimulator? (3, Interesting)

starglider29a (719559) | about 10 years ago | (#11211778)

In the same vein as the Asteroid Simulator page (http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/), is there anything that can give us some ballpark figures on tsunami wave height and speed vs. distance for a given energy? (Like an Asteroid Strike?) Using 2004 MN4 as a sample, The Impact Simulator gives this value. "The crater opened in the water has a diameter of 5.41 km = 3.36 miles"

Can we use that to estimate a wave height at a given distance?

Also, if an impact we in the Indian Ocean, what effect would be seen in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, being narrow, shallow waterways? We all remember the "shotgun blast" from the Gulf of California in Lucifer's Hammer, now don't we?

when all else fails...... (1)

harumscarum (675595) | about 10 years ago | (#11211784)

FREAK OUT!!!!! I think we have finally found the #1 terrorist. It is Mother Nature and she is one bad bitch.

Doomed... (2, Funny)

superstick58 (809423) | about 10 years ago | (#11211792)

Doomed! The megatsunami will hit us in a thousand years and we are doomed. DOOMED!!

Easy solution (1)

jsrlepage (696948) | about 10 years ago | (#11211793)

You just send ballistic missiles confront the waves, and the moment they get to the tidal wave, make em explode and break the wave. seems simple enough to work.

AND you get to disarm whatever country's smart enough to care more about the lives of the citizens than the sparkle of their missiles.

Maybe this is a really stupid question (1)

AndyboyH (837116) | about 10 years ago | (#11211797)

but if they're that worried about this, why not simply remove the volume of water surrounding the area by either creating an artificial island, or creating a group of enough aquatic piles and removing the seawater to such an extent that it wouldn't matter, or would severely reduce the height of the waves?

I know half a trillion tons of rock is a lot, but then so are a hundred million lives.

[goes into politics]

It would also divert money away from the US's more aggressive home defence foreign policies, which can't be a bad thing...

And if you want to keep a scary 'terror' paranoid perspective - I wonder what kind of airliner or ship would be required to give that mass of earth the correct nudge to cause a catastrophic mega-tsunami?

The Pacific Northwest (1)

funny-jack (741994) | about 10 years ago | (#11211802)

Once again, I find myself quite happy [blogspot.com] that I live in Seattle. Sure, we're not disaster-proof [blogspot.com] , but we seem to be a lot safer than many other parts of the world...
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