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A fake warning about a possible tsunami on Sunday.

Fake and misleading social media posts about a megatsunami possibly hitting the East Coast popped up Sunday after a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands.

Experts say it's just the latest scare involving a story that's been around for years.

It all started back before 2011 with a peer-reviewed paper claiming that a flank collapse of the volcano that erupted on La Palma in the Canary Islands could generate "a megatsunami that would initially be about 1,000 metres high, and would still be about 50 metres high when it reached for example the eastern seaboard of the USA," according to the website Advancing Earth and Space Science.

For reference, 1,000 meters would be over 3,000 feet high and 50 meters over 160 feet high.

While the flank could collapse, the chances of it causing a mega tsunami are slim to none, experts say.

"While not impossible it's like worrying about a meteor hitting your house," wrote Brad Panovich, a meteorologist in Charlotte, N.C.

Sunday's eruption on the Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean was the first in 50 years and prompted authorities to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast, the Associated Press reported.

(1) comment

Paul Benedict

The mega-tsunami is impossible, but a volcanic collapse in the Canary Islands could definitely cause a deadly tsunami up and down the east coast. Instead of waves hundreds of feet high, it might be waves 10 to 40 feet high. As was observed in the Japan tsunami of 2011 the impact was worst in ocean inlets and river channels (like the Potomac River here) as the waves converged in the narrowing confines. If such a collapse in the Canary Islands does occur, there should be plenty of time for residents along the coast (and inland zones at sea level, like Woodbridge) to evacuate to higher ground. The Canary Islands are about 3,400 miles away, so it would take several hours for them to reach our area.

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