Atlanta (UPI) Mar 4, 2011
U.S. seismologists say they've developed a system that could warn of an impending tsunami within minutes of an earthquake, giving time to safely evacuate.
The system, dubbed RTerg, is the work of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is described in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, an institute release said Friday.
"We developed a system that, in real time, successfully identified the magnitude 7.8 2010 Sumatran earthquake as a rare and destructive tsunami earthquake," said Andrew Newman, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
"Using this system, we could in the future warn local populations, thus minimizing the death toll from tsunamis," he said.
Tsunami earthquakes are a rare class of earthquakes that rupture with large vertical uplifts of the seafloor, resulting in nearby wave heights of 30 feet to 60 feet in local coastal environments.
"Because tsunami earthquakes rupture in a shallow environment, we can't simply use a measurement of magnitude to determine which ones will create large waves," Newman said. "When they occur, people often don't feel that they're significant, if they even feel them in the first place, because they seem like they're an order of magnitude smaller than they actually are."
Tsunami earthquakes typically rupture slowly and last longer than other earthquakes, so when RTerg uses its algorithmic tools to find a quake matching these attributes, it sends an alert to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center as well as the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center.
"For most tsunami earthquakes, inundation of the coastal environment doesn't occur until about 30-40 minutes after the quake. So we'll have about 20-30 minutes to get our information to an automatic warning system, or to the authorities," Newman said. "This gives us a tangible amount of time to get people out of the way."
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Bonn, Germany (SPX) Dec 31, 2010
Six years after the tsunami disaster of 26/12/2004, the set-up of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean (GITEWS) has been completed. The project ends on 31 March 2011. After that, Indonesia accepts the sole responsibility for the overall system. "The innovative technical approach of GITEWS is based on a combination of different sensors, whose central eleme ... read more
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