MEDIA COMMITEE EVALUATION
mission of the Tsunami Society includes "the dissemination
of knowledge about tsunamis to scientists, officials, and the
public". We have established a committee of private, university,
and government scientists to accomplish part of this goal by
correcting misleading or invalid information released to public
about this hazard. We can supply both valid, correct and important
information and advice to the public, and the names of reputable
scientists active in the field of tsunami, who can provide such
Most recently, the Discovery Channel has replayed a program on
alleging potential destruction of coastal areas of the Atlantic
by tsunami waves which might be generated in the near future
by a volcanic collapse in the Canary Islands. Other reports have
involved a smaller but similar catastrophe from Kilauea volcano
on the island of Hawai`i. They like to call these occurences
"mega tsunamis". We would like to halt the scaremongering
from these unfounded reports. We wish to provide the media with
factual information so that the public can be properly informed
about actual hazards of tsunamis and their mitigation.
Here are a set of facts, agreed on by committee members, about
the claims in these reports:
- While the active volcano of Cumbre Vieja on Las Palma is expected
to erupt again, it will not send a large part of the island into
the ocean, though small landslides may occur. The Discovery program
does not bring out in the interviews that such volcanic collapses
are extremely rare events, separated in geologic time by thousands
or even millions of years.
- No such event - a mega tsunami - has occurred in either the
Atlantic or Pacific oceans in recorded history. NONE.
- The colossal collapses of Krakatau or Santorin (the two most
similar known happenings) generated catastrophic waves in the
immediate area but hazardous waves did not propagate to distant
shores. Carefully performed numerical and experimental model
experiments on such events and of the postulated Las Palma event
verify that the relatively short waves from these small, though
intense, occurrences do not travel as do tsunami waves from a
- The U.S. volcano observatory, situated on Kilauea, near the
current eruption, states that there is no likelihood of that
part of the island breaking off into the ocean.
- These considerations have been published in journals and discussed
at conferences sponsored by the Tsunami Society.
Some papers on this subject include:
"Evaluation of the threat of Mega Tsunami Generation From
....Volcanoes on La Palma ... and Hawaii", George Pararas-Carayannis,
in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol 20, No.5, pages 251-277, 2002.
"Modeling the La Palma Landslide Tsunami", Charles
L. Mader, in Science of Tsunami Hazards, Vol. 19, No. 3, pages
"Volcano Growth and the Evolution of the Island of Hawaii",
J.G. Moore and D.A.Clague, in the Geologic Society of America
Bulletin, 104, 1992.
Committee members for this report include:
Mr. George Curtis, Hilo, HI (Committee Chairman) 808-963-6670
Dr. Tad Murty, Ottawa, Canada, 613-731-8900
Dr. Laura Kong, Honolulu, HI, 808-532-6422
Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis, Honolulu, HI, 808-943-1150
Dr. Charles L. Mader, Los Alamos, NM, 808-396-9855
and all can comment on this or other tsunami matters.
For information regarding the Tsunami Society and its publications,
scientific papers on tsunamis, visit: