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December 30, 2004

Simple Tsunami Warning System

The tsunami that was created by the Great Sumatra Earthquake on December 26, 2004 is going down in history as possibly the worst natural disaster ever. Since my college degree is in geology and I know the plate tectonic movement that caused the tsunami is a machine that is in constant motion, these killer tsunami waves will continue to happen for millions of years. But I think I have a clever idea that will save millions of lives and the technology to do this is already in place and carried around by millions of people.

Talk to any police officer or prosecuting attorney and they will tell you that cell phone companies know exactly where cell phone calls originate from. I am not an electronics wizard nor am I a cell phone computer programmer, but it is my guess the phones might already have the capability once turned on and sitting in the On position to tell the closest cell tower where that phone is.

What's more, as a phone moves from one cell to another, the cell system computer might know this and track it, even though the phone is just in idle and not being talked on.

If this is the case or programming can be easily instituted to do this, the cell phone companies would know that hundreds or thousands of people in a given danger zone are just sitting there waiting for a phone call from anyone. That anyone could be a centralized warning center that operates much like the USA's National Weather Service.

Once a severe earthquake happens, scientists know about it within minutes. It can take hours for the tsunami to reach beaches so these scientists have time on their side. The scientists calculate the danger level and the areas that will be affected by a tsunami. They communicate this in minutes to the cell phone companies. The cell phone companies then call the people who they can identify to be in the danger zones and issue a warning just as we get weather warnings via radio and television. You can already subscribe to weather warnings on your cell phone, so why not tsunami warnings?

Anyone on the beach or near the beach would then start a crude system to warn others who didn't get the call by simply screaming or yelling Land Shark! Land Shark! or Tsunami, Tsunami!

Who knows, this system may already be in place in Japan where they deal with these monster tsunami waves on a regular basis.

Posted by Tim Carter at December 30, 2004 9:23 AM

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