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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chile earthquake is making scientific and television history

First things first: The proprietor of this blog extends his own thoughts and prayers to the very many that are going out to our friends down Chile way today, in the aftermath of the 8.8 earthquake that rocked that country in the wee hours this morning.

And by the way, it's a great testament to that country about how on the ball the folks are about this. I've heard only great things about Chile over the years and the speed and diligence that they have exerted in dealing with this disaster, makes me compelled to tip my hat to 'em.

If you haven't already today, it would - not to put too fine a point on it - be extremely recommended that you tune in right now to CNN or Fox News or whatever, and check out the live feed coming from Hawaii, which looks to have dodged the proverbial bullet so far as tsunami are concerned. There have been significantly higher waves hitting Hawaii but so far, nothing of serious consequence (and let's pray it stays that way). The truly fascinating thing that I'm finding from all of this is that, for the first time that I can remember it happening anyway, possible tsunami have been anticipated and evacuations well underway... and before television cameras for all the world to see, too.

Considering that the Boxing Day Tsunami was just over five years ago, that's a huge leap in technology and means of geological analysis and prediction.

Gotta love science :-)


Unknown said...

Glad to hear (from friends in HI) that things are OK. On a lighter note, you should enjoy this. http://digg.com/movies/The_Empire_Wants_YOU_New_STAR_WARS_Trading_Cards_Feature_Am

Anonymous said...


The difference is not an advance in technology, but the proverbial real estate credo: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

The Pacific Basin has had a "Joint Tsunami Warning Center" for over 40 years, owing to the relative frequency of such waves in that part of the globe. Year after year, the system has worked to keep people adequately informed about the approach of Tsunamis.

In the Indian Ocean, such waves are very rare, and until 2004 no one there had the foresight to set up a warning system. They supposedly have one set up now, so the technology that has been useful in the Pacific will now serve to warn a much wider population.

Two areas of the world are possibly prone to Tsunamis that remain unprotected . . . . the Caribbean Basin and the Mediterranean Sea.

I venture to say that the Caribbean was spared much wider destruction from the Haiti earthquake because it happened on land. Had it happened 300 miles north of the plotted epicenter, over open ocean, it could likely have spawned a Tsunami that would have wreaked destruction from Guyana to Bermuda to Hatteras and the entire Gulf of Mexico.

While no Tsunami has been recorded in the Mediterranean in recent history, earthquake activity in Italy, Greece and Turkey bear witness to the fact that conditions are present for one to be generated here, and the physics of one forming in the relatively shallow water of this "sea" would probably be a bad omen of the height to which one might rise.

I hate to venture a prediction, but human nature would dictate that a bad Tsunami will have to happen in these areas, causing catastrophic damage and loss of life, before the mechanisms are put in place to warn these heavily-populated areas about the danger to the extend that the Pacific and Indian Oceans are now covered.

Ol' You-Know-Who

Chris Knight said...

Ol' You-Know-Who,

Consider me stood and corrected.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say not an advance in technology, but an increased *application* of existing technology.

In some ways, that's even more appreciable.

Thanks for the good lesson on tsunami detection :-)