Nearing Midnight: Trouble Brewing in the Canary Islands

Nearing Midnight: Trouble Brewing in the Canary Islands – Todd Strandberg –

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 60 miles west of the border between Morocco and Western Sahara. There are 7 main islands in the chain with tall volcanoes and steep canyons. The Canary Islands have long been a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year.

Geological properties that make the Canary Islands popular with tourists also make them some of the most dangerous islands on the planet. Because these islands are made out of brittle basaltic lava and subject to collapse, they have the potential to generate very large landslides. Geologists have found evidence of at least 14 large landslides, which have occurred on the banks of the Canary Islands. Two of the islands are particularly prone to this type of event.

El Hierro is the smallest and most volcanically active island of the Canary Islands. It is where the most recent landslide occurred-the El Golfo. It involved the collapse of the northern flank of the island. The landslide formed the El Golfo valley and created a debris avalanche with a volume of 111 cubic miles.

La Palma doesn’t see as many earthquakes as El Hierro, but it has a feature that warrants watching. Following a volcanic eruption in 1949 nearly half of the island’s southern flank, moved westward by several feet. It now has a crack that runs 2.5 miles in the volcanic basalt. This sword of Damocles is waiting for the next seismic event to send it crashing into the sea.

Energy released by such a large-volume landslide would create a mega-tsunami. Within minutes the coast of Africa would be hit by a deluge of water over 330 feet high. The city of Casablanca, Morocco would be wiped off the map, and almost the entire population of Western Sahara would be swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean.

Europe would be impacted within a couple of hours. Cities in Spain and Portugal would see wave heights reaching 120 feet. After four hours it would reach Britain sending water up the Thames River and flooding London with 20 feet of water. The low lying countries of the Netherlands and Belgium would see vast tracks of land swallowed up by the seismic waves.

The tsunami would lose much of its energy as it crossed the Atlantic ocean, but it would still generate a tsunami 80 feet high as it hit the U.S. coast. Only the tallest and sturdiest buildings in cities like New York, Washington and Boston would offer protection from the surge of water. To give you an idea of the power that the people on the American coast would have to deal with, during a previous mega-tsunami, boulders the size of houses were ripped from the shore and carried several hundred feet inland.

South America would also be devastated. The northern shore of Brazil sticks out directly facing the Canary Islands, and it would experience wave heights of 140 feet.

There is no historic disaster to compare to a Canary Island tsunami. The most deadly tsunami was the one that struck the coast of Indonesia in 2004, killing 240,000 people. A repeat of El Golfo would be 30 times bigger, resulting in a death toll of tens of millions.

Any one sounding the alarm bell over the chance of a mega tsunami needs to contend with the fact these events take place over large time scales-but recent events make the warning necessary. In the past few weeks, there have been a string of earthquakes around the island of El Hierro. On December 27th, El Hierro saw its largest earthquake ever-a 5.4 magnitude trembler that struck off the coast at a depth of about ten miles. In the week that followed, over 500 earthquakes rattled the island.

There has been little coverage of the earthquake activity by the mainstream media. I’m sure it’s because the consequences are so horrible that ignorance is bliss. For someone living in Florida, which has an elevation of 14 feet above sea level, there is not much a southern resident of that state could do if they knew an 80 foot wall of water was headed their way at 500 mph.

There is a positive side to the fact the world faces mega tsunamis and other disasters of equal intensity. Jesus said He would come back to save his church from what will be the darkest hour for mankind. The tremors in El Hierro may be one more warning sign to: Get Ready.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:8-11, 25-28).