COLLAPSE OF MOUNT ETNA COULD TRIGGER A TSUNAMI
Europe’s biggest active volcano is slipping into the ocean, and it’s feared the recent discovery could trigger a tsunami.
Scientists are concerned the slow movements that have been measured on Mount Etna’s southeastern flank could escalate and result in part of it collapsing into the water.
Such an event would put neighbouring communities in Sicily at risk as debris enters the surrounding ocean, possibly causing devastating waves. However, researchers monitoring the site say all they can do for now is
“keep an eye” on the active volcano as there is no way of telling whether this acceleration will come within years or centuries.
Careful monitoring of the seafloor around the site has revealed that Etna’s gradual sliding movements affected a far wider area — a finding the scientists say increases the risk of “catastrophic collapse.”
There are historic accounts of such collapses happening on smaller volcanoes, but the geological record has evidence of it affecting large areas in Hawaii and the Canary Islands millions of years ago.