Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Tsunami’ Category

In little more than half a century, Sulawesi has endured dozens of earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.


  • “….At least 1,649 people have been confirmed killed by the twin natural disasters on Sept. 28. Many more are believed to have died, been buried under soil, swept away by waves or trapped in a tangle of crushed buildings that will take months, if not years, to clear.….”

What happened to Indonesia’s early warning system for tsunami detection?


  • Indonesia’s system, completed in 2008, consists of seismographic sensors, buoys (record changes in the sea level), tidal gauges (measure changes in sea level every 15 minutes and send the data to the national meteorological agency) and GPS.
  • None of the 22 buoys was operational (vandalism and lack of maintenance)
  • No data observation equipment near enough to Palu to measure tidal changes in the immediate area.
  • After Friday’s earthquake struck, all three tsunami waves hit the area fewer than 11 minutes later.

This diagram shows how tsunami wave information in the deep ocean is transmitted from DART systems via satellite to NOAA’s tsunami warning centers.

This diagram shows how tsunami wave information in the deep ocean is transmitted from DART systems via satellite to NOAA’s tsunami warning centers.

Mass burials in Indonesia & hundreds of aftershocks continue to reverberate around Central Sulawesi, hindering rescue operations.

The Ring of Fire

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the quake and tsunami killed at least 832 and injured another 500.


  • Indonesia is prone to earthquakes.
  • It lies on the Ring of Fire – the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.
  • The injured are being treated in tents because of damage to hospitals.



Tsunami inundates Palu

9/8/1900: A 15-foot storm surge from a Cat. 4 hurricane submerges Galveston, TX killing 6000-8000 inhabitants



An undersea earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck in the South Pacific on Monday, sending tsunami waves towards New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

Daily Telegraph

ShakeMap Intensity image


11/13/1970: An immense tidal wave and storm surge caused by a powerful cyclone kills over 200,000 people in East Pakistan (Bangladesh).

History Channel


Plate Tectonics & The Ring of Fire

National Park Service

The Earth is made up of roughly a dozen major plates and several minor plates. These plates are constantly moving, some as fast as 15 centimeters a year



SUBDUCTION ZONE:  At a convergent plate boundary the older, more dense crust will sink, or “subduct” under the other. There can be a Normal-Angle Subduction and a Low-Angle Subduction.


ISLAND ARC SETTING:  An island-arc setting includes a chain of offshore, island volcanoes above a subducting plate. The back-arc is located opposite the trench and subducting plate, behind the chain of volcanoes called an “island arc”.


HOTSPOTS:  This graphic shows the evolution of a chain of islands over stationary mantle plume (hotspot) within Earth’s crust.


PACIFIC OCEAN HOTSPOTS:  Tectonic setting of the Pacific Plate with selected hotspots indicated. The “kink” between the Emperor Seamounts and Hawaiian Islands chain shows how the direction of plate motion changed while the Hawaiian hotspot remained stationary.


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