After a sudden tsunami slammed into a coastline of Indonesia without warning earlier this week, the death toll and number of injured and missing continues to rise. However, the real question is could the massive figures of those dead, injured or missing have been prevented in the first place.
The most common precursors and indicators of a tsunami are those of seismic shocks and shifts. These indicators allow authorities to alert those along the coastline in order to prevent any deaths or injuries. However, the tsunami that hit Indonesia had no early warnings or even indications that it was going to happen. Experts state that it was a very unfortunate chain of various factors that led to the deadly event. It is estimated that the tsunami hit approximately twenty to thirty minutes after the event that triggered it.
The tsunami in question, which was placed between the islands of Java and Sumatra, was actually caused by an active volcano that has been reported to have been erupting since June of this year. In fact, there are two theories that have been reported as to the cause of the eruption of the volcano itself. There was an underwater landslide or molten lava actively spewed either of which would be able to cause the displacement needed to produce the tsunami.
One area all the experts can agree on is that this was in no way a common tsunami. There is also agreement that because it was triggered by volcanic activity at no time did it rise to the level that would have triggered an alert. With all of this taken into consideration, in this particular instance, the Tsunami Warning Centers were pretty much of little to no use.
When dealing with a tsunami originating from a volcanic event, the usual alert systems in place are not very effective. In order for Indonesia to be better prepared if this sort of event ever happened again would entail spending billions of dollars on new technology as well as having round the clock observers on their coastline. Even with all these notifications in place, there is still no guarantee that a tsunami warning would come in time.
Although it is true that the tsunami was triggered by a volcano rather than an earthquake, what made this particular event even more deadly was the added facts that it was night time and high tide. The combination of the three made for the resulting disastrous conditions.
Do you think that a warning of some sort would have been able to have been sent in time?