Potential tsunami threat in North Arabian Sea

‘There still are open questions on whether the Makran subduction zone can generate large tsunamis in future’

September 08, 2021 08:39 pm | Updated September 09, 2021 07:27 am IST - HYDERABAD

CHENNAI: 26/12/2020 ---- 16th anniversarry of Tsunami observed at Srinivasapuram in Chennai on Saturday.

CHENNAI: 26/12/2020 ---- 16th anniversarry of Tsunami observed at Srinivasapuram in Chennai on Saturday.

If governments across the globe are looking at Afghanistan and the Middle East with renewed concern over the recent developments, earth scientists too are having a critical look at the region, especially towards the sea in the Gulf region.

The Indian Ocean is likely to be affected by tsunamis generated mainly by earthquakes not only from the known and explored ‘Andaman-Nicobar-Sumatra Island Arc’ in Bay of Bengal but also the ‘Makran Subduction Zone’ in the Northern Arabian Sea which is poorly understood.

“Hundreds of fatalities were confirmed to have occurred after the 1945 Tsunami in north west of Indian Ocean and there still are ‘open questions’ on whether the Makran subduction zone can generate such large tsunamis in the future,” said Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) director T. Srinivasa Kumar on Wednesday.

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-UNESCO has begun to implement a multi-national project aimed at better understanding Makran and to strengthen tsunami early warning through regional cooperation funded by UN ESCAP Trust Fund in the region, he said.

INCOIS hosting the Tsunami Warning Centre for 25 countries of the region has been drafted to strengthen the standard operating procedures for disseminating alerts through mainstream media of Iran, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan apart from India. Dr. Kumar, addressing the second day of the three-day workshop, said the ideal situation is the one in Japan where National Broadcaster NHK has a direct connection with the warning centre to relay real time information.

Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) at INCOIS came into existence after the tsunami on December 26, 2004, which took 16,000 lives in the country alone, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and it is part of the IOC framework. It can now give alerts within 10 minutes of any quake underwater through a network of buoys, 36 tide gauges along the coastline and 27 seismic stations, he said.

Incidentally, INCOIS has five buoys in Bay of Bengal to give real-time information about ocean currents and any sub-surface quakes whereas it has just two on Arabian Sea near Makran. “Ideally, we need to have one more as right now these two help us get timely alerts, but not enough for research. We are expecting Oman to fund another one since each buoy costs about ₹8 crore. It is quite a complicated process to maintain them since we had incidents of vandalism with parts of the buoys being cut off mid-sea,” said scientists B.Ajay Kumar and Ch.Patanjali Kumar.

Senior scientist T.M. Balakrishnan Nair gave an overview of INCOIS activities on fishing, ocean forecasting, multi-hazard mapping of coastline, etc. Scientists M.V.Sunanda and Sudheer Joseph also participated.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.