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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid