Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Lessons Learned

Whenever I see an article posted about a recent event that suggests it will share "lessons learned" from the event, I'm immediately interested in sharing those lessons here.  The recent volcanic eruption of Anak Krakatau in Indonesia that caused a landslide into the ocean, resulting in a tsunami that killed hundreds of people, was tragic and somewhat surprising.

The mythical megatsunami prediction.

I've read about landslide tsunamis, including the devastating wall of water that a major landslide in the Canary Islands would supposedly fly across the Atlantic and inundate most of the eastern US coast, as far west as Richmond, VA.  (See image above.)  That said, such events are rare and even this "End of Days" event on the east coast has been debunked--sort of.  Even so, I wondered what lessons could be learned. So I read the article (here).

The lesson for the future was rather simple.  As we've seen in many other examples discussed in this blog, however, it these solutions are not made a priority, they will remain unheeded.  The article continues:

Tsunami warning systems are in place around Indonesia, but they are tailored to earthquake tsunamis, triggering only if an earthquake and large wave are detected

“Recognizing a landslide tsunami is much harder. The time between detection and the tsunami coming ashore is likely to be very short, so it is hard to make the system effective,” says Dave Petley, a landslide expert at the University of Sheffield....

All active volcanoes near the sea – of which there are many – present a potential landslide tsunami risk. Sadly it is too late for Anak Krakatau, but installing movement sensors on other vulnerable volcanoes, and monitoring with satellite, could help give warning and save lives in future. 

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