Science

This Method Can Stop Tsunamis Before It Hit Shorelines

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 26, 2017 02:00 AM EST

Killer tsunamis could be stopped before it hit the Earth's shorelines, that is if a new technology that could fire acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs) on the oncoming mass of water can be engineered. A recent study proposed that AGWs can stop tsunamis caused by earthquakes or landslides as well as other disastrous geological events.

Tsunamis also referred as seismic sea waves or tidal waves is a series of waves due to the displacement of large volumes of water caused by earthquake, landslide, underwater explosion or meteorite impact. Among the deadliest tsunamis is the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed about 230,000 people from 14 countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.

In a research published in the journal, Heliyon, on Monday, Jan. 23, Dr. Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University's School of Mathematics proposed the use of AGWs to stop tsunamis. AGWs are sound waves which occur naturally and moves in the deep ocean at the speed of sound. These waves can measure to up to hundreds of kilometers in length.

Dr. Kadri explained that AGWs can fire at an oncoming tsunami to reduce its amplitude or height to minimize its damage. He also believes that continuously firing AGWs can completely disperse the tsunami before it reaches the shoreline. However, AGW frequency transmitters or modulators must first be engineered to make this possible.

"Within the last two decades, tsunamis have been responsible for the loss of almost half a million lives, widespread long-lasting destruction, profound environmental effects and global financial crisis," Dr. Kadri said in a press release from Cardiff University. "Up until now, little attention has been paid to trying to mitigate tsunamis and the potential of acoustic-gravity waves remain largely unexplored," he added.

He also highlighted the use of an alternative -- pitting nature against nature itself, by utilizing naturally occurring AGWs in the ocean to stop tsunamis. He admitted that generating AGWs might be difficult. A high amount of energy is required to mitigate a tsunami, however, it is viable by extending the findings to the realistic properties and geometries of a tsunami. He added that this technique could also allow the harnessing of the tsunami's energy.

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