Chilean quake tests new method for rapid warning about waves
National Tsunami Warning Center/NOAA
The deadly magnitude 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Chile on September 16 sent an enormous pulse of water racing away from the quake’s epicenter, prompting an evacuation of more than 1 million Chileans. This surging seawater provided an unanticipated test for a new, faster way to forecast quake-generated tsunamis.
Using simplified mathematical estimates of how earthquakes trigger tsunamis, researchers correctly approximated the height of the Chilean tsunami in a matter of seconds after earthquake data flowed in. When paired with upgraded earthquake-sensing technology, the technique could deliver accurate tsunami forecasts in half the time of current methods, the researchers reportin a paper to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.
Faster predictions will help emergency managers quickly dispatch resources to areas most likely to be devastated,