Gulf | Oman

Oman cannot ignore tsunami threat - expert

Rumours about an impending tsunami may have died down, but the potential of the disaster striking Oman's eastern coast from the Makran subduction zone cannot be ruled out, says expert.

  • By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 00:00 May 8, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit:
  • The faultlines in the region and possible seismic activities.
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Muscat: Rumours about an impending tsunami may have died down, but the potential of the disaster striking Oman's eastern coast from the Makran subduction zone cannot be ruled out, according to a Canadian palaeontologist.

Eduard G. Reinhardt from School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University in Canada has worked for several years in Oman's eastern coast near Qalhat and Sur on coastal evolution and ancient harbours.

"He has found significant scientific evidence of the 1945 tsunami in Sur lagoon from shell deposits to raise possibility of tsunami striking Oman in future," Dr Barry Jupp, senior marine scientist with the Ministry of Regional Municipality, Environment and Water Resources, told Gulf News yesterday.

He added that there was hard evidence within living memory of a tsunami striking Oman's eastern side. "It is not based on any hypothetical theory but hard evidence," he said, adding that the preliminary studies were carried out from shell deposits in Khawr Al Batah.

According to Professor Reinhardt, fractured shells deposits found in the area indicate the impact of tsunami or earthquake in the sea.

The history of 1945 tsunami, which seems difficult to find on official recorded data, also points at the risk of tsunami from Makran subduction zone, where if more pressure on trenches builds up then it can release pressure earthquake in water causing tsunami.

Dr Jupp reckons that the direct scientific evidence of tsunami makes Tsunami Early Warning system on the Oman coast more relevant to assess the potential risk from the Makran subduction zone.

Prototype

In fact Texas-based Lighthouse Research and Development Enterprise has been trying out their Tsunami Early Warning prototype system off Oman's coast and have found out that their new Dart system which employs fibre optic cables is viable.

"We have set up our prototype system near Abu Bakara near Shinaz in the north of Oman after a two-year agreement with Oman's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries' Marine and Science Centre," Ken Du Vall, President and COO of Lighthouse, told Gulf News yesterday.

The system is called Lighthouse Environment Tsunami-Ocean Bottom Seismic (Let-OBS).

"Our system utilises latest advancement in telecommunication industry to bring seismic and wave height information to monitoring facilities anywhere in the world and offers unprecedented reliability," he claimed.

He said that they collect data from their system exclusive for Oman at the moment but they do have permission from the Oman government to inform the world community about any imminent danger from the data collect from this Tsunami Early Warning system here.

After initial experiments here, Du Vall, feels that the system has the potential to go Real Time and can warn early about the impending tsunami.

Makran coast was hit by a magnitude 8 quake

- The tsunami of November 28, 1945 was a major incident in the region when an earthquake of magnitude 8 caused great devastation in the Makran area of Pakistan.

- More than 4,000 people were killed on the Makran Coast by both the earthquake and the tsunami. The waves reached a height of over 10 metres in some Makran ports and caused great damage to the entire coastal region, including the Omani coast.

Have your say
Do you feel the threat of a tsunami in the region is real? Can there ever be a proper early warning system when it comes to predicting the magnitude of natural disasters? Share your views at letter2editor@gulfnews.com or fill in the form below to send your comments.



Your comments


I agree with the studies that the events maybe possible and one must prepare for this event to reduce the number of victims in human life and structure within the areas expected to be hit by this expected earthquake.
Misler
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Yes, the threat of a tsunami in the region is clear. The tsunami in Indonesia slightly affected this region, how much would the effect be if it started from the nearby fault lines. There can never be an early warning system for this kind of natural disaster. Just educate the people about the consequences after an earthquake.
Ruel
Dubai,UAE

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