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. Ireland Examines Tsunami Early Warning System

There is historical evidence that the south coast of Ireland experienced a tsunami following an earthquake that devastated Lisbon in Portugal in 1755. There is also geological evidence that Ireland may have experienced the effects of similar tsunamis in pre-historic times.
by Staff Writers
Dublin (AFP) Feb 13, 2007
Ireland is to examine setting up a tsunami early warning system, even though such a threat is believed to be remote here, Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey said on Tuesday. Dempsey said it will involve representatives of a number of ministries and state agencies like the meteorological service, the geological survey office and the marine institute.

"Although the probability of a tsunami along Irish coastlines is statistically very small, the EU has decided to 'fast track' a number of initiatives aimed at predicting such events," Dempsey said.

The International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), is currently coordinating international efforts to deliver an initial system in the North East Atlantic and Mediterranean by end 2007 which will focus on linking up national systems.

Dempsey said the committee will develop a fully designed and costed proposal for the Irish early warning system which will feed into the international efforts.

"Specific proposals for the implementation of the system will be brought to government for approval later in 2007," Dempsey said.

There is historical evidence that the south coast of Ireland experienced a tsunami following an earthquake that devastated Lisbon in Portugal in 1755.

There is also geological evidence that Ireland may have experienced the effects of similar tsunamis in pre-historic times.

In December 2004, more than 220,000 people were killed as a massive tsunami battered Indian Ocean coasts.

The tragedy led to worldwide calls for a more effective tsunami response system -- including both the technology to predict the disasters and the means to get the message out.

Ireland has very little seismic activity.

In December 2005, an earthquake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the Irish Sea off Bray Head south of Dublin but no damage was caused.

It occurred in an area close to where there was a 3.7 magnitude earthquake in 1951.

The largest recorded earthquake in the Irish Sea area measured 5.4 on the Richter scale and had its epicentre on the Lleyn Peninsula in Wales in 1984. Structural damage was minor and it was only weakly felt in Ireland.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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