World's First Tsunami Warning System from Australia

Posted by GIS talk On Wednesday, August 10, 2011
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Australia will soon put into action the advanced tsunami warning system, operated by the Bureau of Meteorology (Bureau) and Geoscience Australia (GA).

[via] The Australian Tsunami Warning 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.”


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