In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, a 100-foot tsunami crashes through the streets of Manhattan, flipping cars and buses and sending terrified New Yorkers scrambling for their lives.
An even bigger tsunami engulfs Manhattan in another disaster movie, Deep Impact.
But could it actually happen?
According to scientists, it could and the destruction would be far greater than what we're seeing in Japan.
So what would cause such a momentous natural disaster?
Dr. Steven Ward, a research geophysicist at the University of California, believes that the volcano known as Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa could erupt and collapse into the ocean, triggering a mega-tsunami.
Dr. Ward has calculated that the tsunami would travel across the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of 300 miles an hour. He estimates that nine hours after the volcanic eruption, waves high as 60 feet would slam into Manhattan.
It happened once before, but on a much smaller scale in 1992, when an underwater avalanche off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida triggered an 18-foot wave that flooded a parking lot.
Dr. Spahr Webb is a seismologist at Columbia University. He says that even if the Cumbre Vieja volcano were to erupt, the resulting tsunami would weaken considerably before reaching Manhattan. Even Dr. Ward acknowledges the threat of a mega-tsunami striking the east coast in our lifetime is very slim.