Tsunami

Deep-sea Internet to detect tsunamis, spy on smugglers, and discover oil

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 15, 2013   View Article

The Internet may soon reach into the depths of the world’s oceans and relay real-time information to smartphones everywhere — about everything from drug-smuggling submarines and the location of untapped oil reserves to the approach of a deadly tsunami.

Arrays of scientific instruments already bob on ocean buoys, hitch rides on sea turtles and lay bolted to seafloors. But they communicate with each other and scientists in myriad and often inefficient ways, explained Tommaso Melodia, an electrical engineer at the University of Buffalo in New York who is leading the development of the deep-sea Internet.

Disaster-proof homes that don’t suck

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 24, 2011   View Article

Earthquakes don’t kill people, poorly built buildings do. The problem is that most disaster-proof, inexpensive housing technologies don’t fit the cultural preferences of the communities that need them, according to a non-profit that’s promoting a fix.

“This is something that we can control and we can change if we know how to do it correctly,” Elizabeth Hausler, the CEO and founder of Build Change, which has led post-disaster reconstruction efforts in China, Haiti, and Indonesia, told me last week.

Implementation of simple engineering principles using locally-available materials and labor can lead to culturally-acceptable housing that can survive the violent shaking of earthquakes and hurricane-force winds.

Robots to the rescue in Japan

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 15, 2011   View Article

As the search for survivors and grim recovery of bodies continues following the devastating one-two punch of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, researchers are weighing what types of robots could be most helpful.

There are ground-based robots, for example, designed to climb up and down piles of rubble and slither into otherwise inaccessible cracks to look for survivors. Other robots are designed to work underwater, looking for survivors in cars that fell off bridges and to check the integrity of infrastructure.

Could big quake happen here? Yes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 11, 2011   View Article

As the world tunes in to the disaster following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan today — and with waves rattling nerves along the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii — a question rises to the fore: Could such a disaster happen here?

The short answer is yes. It already has. Major quakes of a similar style rupture along the 680-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone, a fault that runs from Northern California to British Columbia, every few hundred years. They trigger tsunami waves reaching up to 15 feet high that hit the shore about 10 to 15 minutes later.

The fault last ruptured in 1700 – a magnitude-9 event that sent tsunami waves crashing into Japan. Experts believe it is a matter of when, not if, the next one will happen, according to Brian Atwater, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington and an expert on the 1700 event.

“There’s no reason to question the history here,” he told me today.

Bay of Bengal Faces Major Tsunami Threat, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 5, 2007   View Article

Millions of people along the coasts of Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, and India may be at risk of suffering a catastrophic tsunami-generating earthquake, according to a new study.

The northern Bay of Bengal could be pummeled by a temblor as massive as the one that sent devastating tsunamis into Indonesia and other Indian Ocean countries in December 2004, the research suggests.

Hippo and Tortoise May Find Three’s a Crowd

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 5, 2006   View Article

The strength of a unique male bond between a young hippopotamus and a 130-year-old tortoise will be tested later this spring when conservation workers introduce a female hippo to the mix.

The pending introduction serves as an intriguing plot twist to the unlikely story of a hippo and tortoise brought together at Haller Park wildlife sanctuary in Mombasa, Kenya, in the wake of the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami.

Tsunami Raved Communities Focus on Sustainable Recovery

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 22, 2005   View Article

A year since the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami, aid groups are shifting their focus from immediate relief efforts to helping locals build self-sustaining communities that are better prepared for future disasters.

The effort is a delicate balancing act between helping people meet their day-to-day needs and restoring and protecting the ecosystems required to sustain communities for decades to come.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach