It's not often that Backchat is glued to his TV set, apart from, of course, checking up on Big Brother.

But he was mesmerised when he caught a programme based on research by the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at University College London. It used computer graphics to show what would happen if a massive tidal wave were to sweep across the Atlantic and splash down on the densely populated US eastern seaboard – the biggest potential disaster in mankind's history.

A far-fetched idea? Not according to the experts from the hazard research centre. They are predicting a mega tsunami (tidal wave) may do exactly that, obliterating New York and most of Florida in the next 100 years or so.

The 650m high behemoth, is they claim, likely to be caused by a landfall on the volcanic isle La Palma in the Canary Islands, thousands of miles away. Tonnes of rock could be sent crashing into the sea by the next volcanic eruption – a sobering thought for anyone visiting the Mediterranean this summer as Mt Etna blows her top.