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New tsunami detection system for Indonesia

  • Publish Date: Posted over 7 years ago

Scientists from Indonesia and the US have developed a new prototype for Indonesia's tsunami detection system, potentially giving coastal towns and cities some valuable extra minutes of warning. The country’s incumbent system comprises seafloor sensors that communicate with transmitting buoys on the surface, which are vulnerable to vandals and lack of funding. Each of the 22 inoperable buoys cost several hundred thousand dollars each. When a large earthquake hit near the Mentawai islands 170 km from the city of Padang in West Sumatra in March, none of the buoys were operational. Although no tsunami struck, there was a panicked evacuation and officials did not remove the tsunami warning for two hours because of a lack of information. The latest prototype, nearly four years in the making, is set up for detection of near-field tsunamis and has been tested off Padang, It currently awaits a decision on government funding to connect it to disaster agencies on land. Padang and nearby cities are threatened, as it has been found that an earthquake bigger than magnitude 8.5 is possible off the city in the next few decades.