News / Asia

Australia Prepares World-First Tsunami Warning System

Australian scientists are putting the finishing touches on a highly advanced tsunami warning system in a remote desert region north of Perth.   Researchers say the array of sensors is the first in the world able to make predictions on where and when tsunamis may strike. 

The system being installed in the red dust of the Pilbara region in Western Australia will monitor earthquakes around the Indian Ocean.  In particular, it will look for signs of underground ruptures along the Indonesian archipelago to the north.

Scientists say it is the first seismic array built specifically to predict both when tsunamis may occur, but also where they might strike.  Information is transmitted in real time back to a tsunami-warning center in Melbourne and to Geoscience Australia in Canberra, the government’s official geological agency.

The seismic array is a network of interconnected seismographs that measure and record the force and duration of earthquakes.  They are arranged in a geometric pattern to increase sensitivity to events underground.

Thirteen boreholes have been drilled over a 26-square kilometer zone.  Monitoring equipment is then lowered into the ground.  The system is powered by solar cells, with batteries for backup.

Professor Phil Cummins from Geoscience Australia says the system is unique. “An array is distinct from a station that has a single sensor in that it doesn't only see the incoming wave but it can also track the direction of incoming energy," he explains. "So as energy comes into the sensor it can sort of track the direction from which that energy is coming and that will let us sort of map out the rupture from some of these large earthquakes that might occur to our north or even elsewhere.”

A tsunami is a very large wave unleashed by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption.  Earlier this year, parts of Japan were inundated by a tsunami, causing a catastrophic loss of life and damage to property, including nuclear reactors.

In 2004, a tsunami killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries.  Coastal areas were swamped by waves up to 30 meters high.   Many of the victims died in the Indonesia province, Aceh.

After the disaster, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System was established, which the Australian system will complement.   It is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The Indian Ocean system is designed to provide the sort of accurate information that the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has provided to countries in the Pacific basin since the 1960s.

Australia experiences on average about one earthquake each day -- most too small to be noticed without instrumentation. Although the country sits in the middle of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate, it is not prone to damaging earthquakes that many of its Asia-Pacific neighbors are.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid