Theories as to what causes Earthquakes are well established. The Earth has a group of tectonic plates which move gradually. This causes continental drift and parts of the world that are more likely to get volcanoes and earthquakes. There are a few countries that are more likely to get seismic activity due to their location and indeed origin as land masses drawn out of the Earth’s mantle, the product of volcanic activity.
Examine the plate map around the Ring of Fire – the edges of the Pacific plate. Japan and New Zealand are both dissected by subduction zones, where the plates are pushing towards each other. So is Iceland (although the Atlantic plates are moving apart. Other trouble zones are evident around the Pacific rim, Indonesia and north of the Indian Plate. Mutual subduction results in mountain ranges and continental drift takes these land deposits and slowly but certainly reorders them. So New Zealand and Japan, in Geological time, are likely to both increase in land mass. The water in the atmosphere and sea and the fuming vents of the Earth appear to have interdependent roles in the maintenance of the conditions of life.
A Tsunami arises from the sudden upward thrust of one plate, the friction causes the earthquake and the land mass suddenly moving up creates a powerful wave that radiates rapidly. The displacement of large amounts of water is carried on the waves and move like a rapid tide. The laws of gravity counterbalance the effects of these waves, and the tide is drawn back out to sea. This has disastrous consequences for shorelines close to the wave and certain types of shoreline that may be distant but have a “line of sight” to the event.
Preventing a Tsunami
A Tsunami can not be stopped from our current technological options. Ideas are listed below of theoretical means by which a tsunami could be stopped or prevented from causing remote damage.
Ideas to Stop a Tsunami
- a tractor beam wall from a network of satellites protecting coastlines near faults that can be switched on when an earthquake is detected
- offshore barriers or baffles close to the fault line that absorb the energy of the wave
- giant fans that blow the waves away on potentially hazardous coastline
- underground plumbing
- hoping it will never happen again
The Tsunami (poetry)