Tsunami — Truth or Scare?

Tsunami Hurricane Warning on Our Beach

Since Florida is the home of sunshine, paradise and golden shores; it’s a shock to be walking casually on the beach and stumble into this screaming sign: TSUNAMI HAZARD ZONE!

On close inspection, this sign bears the name of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce with an alarming hazard warning:  “In case of earthquake or tsunami warning, evacuate the beaches.”

Tsunami? Earthquake? In Florida?

Since Florida has never been a target for tsunamis, serious scientific facts need to be presented to residents and tourists for their peace-of-mind. How likely is a tsunami to hit the east coast and Florida? Why would the Department of Commerce place signs in tourist areas where commerce counts? Who authorized these signs?  What evidence supports this initiative?

The culprit for these hazard warning signs appears to be the threatening BBC Horizon Television Show, featuring 100 foot waves engulfing the east coast of the US from the Canary Islands, based on assertions by three researchers, Ward/Day/McGuire, who unscientifically claim “that a massive block of rock is just waiting to slide into the sea.”

These facts are highly disputed by the scientific community along with The Netherlands Technical University at Delft, a team of highly regarded research scientists, who assert that the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canaries “would not be on their suggested scale and improbable in the next 10,000 years.”

The scientific community objections assert that these three researchers make their money from geo-hazard predictions and the incentive behind this BBC Horizon production is an enormous advertisement for the funding of their commercial products. Since the 2004 tsunami in the Pacific, the hazard insurance community has been in overdrive to convince governments to invest in their research, while scientists consider these specific warnings fiction!

Other scientists counter this mega-tsunami scare because after the 1949 La Palma eruption, the villages did not sink, the large solid block did not sink and, obviously, 30,000 residents would have noticed huge land mass movements on their doorsteps.  None of that happened!

Dr. Russell Wynn and Dr. Doug Masson from Southampton Oceanography Centre, have personally studied the Canary Island landslides for years:  “In the last 200,000 years there were only two major landslides and evidence shows that they break up and fall into the sea in several stages …  for example, if you drop small pieces, they will have small splashes.”  Dr. Wynn further adds “The mega-tsunami scenario aired in the BBC Horizon is based on speculative computer models in contrast with their work that involves actual physical inspections of landslide deposits.”

The Tsunami Society, composed of leading Tsunami scientists, published a special news bulletin to counteract the incorrect and misleading information published by, among others, BBC Horizon.

In the Science of Tsunami Hazards, George Pararas-Carayannis claims “every aspect of the BBC Horizon program is false.” “Massive flank failures of island stratovolcanoes are extremely rare and none have occurred in recorded history.  Recent forecasting of mega-tsunami generation from massive slope failure of Cumbre Vieja in La Palma, Canary Islands is based on incorrect assumptions.  He is further concerned that scaremongering has resulted in anxiety to populated coastlines from distance locations.

El Pais, quoted a leading Spanish scientist, who questioned the BBC Horizon theory “The model would not have passed the stage of elegant theoretical exercise if the authors had not spent a week publicly airing it before publishing it? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the research centre is funded by an insurance company concerned with natural catastrophes.”

Spanish volcanologist, Juan Carlos Carracedo, was first to spot the instability caused by the 1947 La Palma cracking and was horrified by the sensationalism of the BBC Horizon researchers:  “The error in the modeling is that there is NO probability of it happening.”

For a wave to cross the Atlantic, it would be classified as a mega-tsunami and the three largest on record: Krakatoa, Santorin and Lituya Bay Alaska all remained local eruptions and the Alaska waves were confined to a small bay and dissipated quickly into open waters.

After wading through mountains of research data, scientific reports, spoken with seismologists, the evidence reveals that these “Scare Hazard Warnings” are preposterous. Indeed, our Florida Congressman’s office confirmed that the Phuket Tsunami was the motivation for these hazard warning signs peppering the east coast.

Our concerns are further heightened about regulators-for-profit in this day of over-regulation. Should Floridians be prepared to stumble into new hysterical warnings:  “Stay off the beach if you see comets or star bursts in the next 10,000 years?”   Should we even rely on our Weather Bureau who predicted an overactive 2013 hurricane season in Florida and, to date, there have been ZERO!

Restricted areas for “Tsunami Hazard Zones” on the beautiful beaches of Florida are an overreach and an abuse of taxpayer’s tax dollars.  The “Tsunami Scare Warning Signs” are now exposed!  Truth counts!

Melinda Meikle, Citizen Journalist

September 8th, 2016