Warning system needed for threat of catastrophe

A A A

Britain should help to set up an international early warning system for mega-disasters, such as giant volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tidal waves, Britain's geologists have told the Government.

Britain should help to set up an international early warning system for mega-disasters, such as giant volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tidal waves, Britain's geologists have told the Government.

Such events could severely threaten the British Isles and pose a much greater risk than that of asteroid impacts, which the Government has recently evaluated, according to the Geological Society.

In a letter to the Science minister, Lord Sainsbury of Turv-ille, Professor Chris Wilson, the society's honorary secretary for external affairs, said a taskforce similar to that which recently reported on the threat from Near Earth Asteroids should be set up to look at a broad band of terrestrial disasters. He went on: "Governments have taken the threat of global warming seriously, but the inevitability of global natural hazards has yet to be recognised as a problem by the international community.

"The recognition by the UK Government that meteorite impacts are more than science fantasy is encouraging. We suggest the UK go even further and take the lead in influencing the development of global natural disaster preparation plans."

The letter is timed to coincide with a BBC2 Horizon programme tonight on the threat of giant 'tsunamis' or tidal waves originating from the collapse of unstable volcanic islands in the Atlantic. Scientists have only recently realised that a huge part of one of the Canary Islands is likely to collapse.

If it did so, a wall of water nearly 2,000ft high would be sent westwards at the speed of a jet plane. By the time it reached the United States it would still be 150ft high, enough to devastate the entire Eastern seaboard. It is thought that such a wave would also drastically affect the coast of Europe and possibly Britain.

Professor Bill McGuire, of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London, said a section of La Palma in the Canaries the size of the Isle of Wight had slipped down four metres in 1949 and eventually was certain to fall into the sea.

He said: "In the long term it is a hundred per cent certain. We need an Atlantic tsunami warning system - like the one in the Pacific - and the Government should contribute to getting it started."

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week