Possibility of undersea mudslide triggered tsunami raised by Dharmasarojana

Posted on August 17, 2007  /  1 Comments

Smith Dharmasarojana is a hero to those in the disaster risk-reduction field. He was the Met Chief who raised the flag re a tsunami hitting Thailand well before 2004 December. He lost his job as a result. When the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami did hit, he was recalled and made the disaster-preparedness czar. Because of his drive, Thailand is among the best prepared for a tsunami or similar disaster today.

I have read about the mudslide triggered tsunami as a theoretical possibility (cannot actually recall specific mention of a historical event). The danger with this particular form of tsunami is that there is no prior earthquake for the sensors to catch. The only thing that can detect the resultant tsunami is a tsunami buoy of the kind that is now installed in the sea between Sri Lanka and Thailand.

When Smith Dharmasarojana speaks, I listen. This needs to be taken very seriously. What we in Sri Lanka can do is to improve the national warning system and prepare the villages, particularly on the East Coast, to respond fast and effectively. At the regional level, I guess we need to move forward on installing more buoys in the Bay of Bengal.


BANGKOK: Mountains of mud on the Indian Ocean floor could tumble down in an earthquake and trigger a tsunami that could lash the resort island of Phuket, Thailand’s disaster centre said on Thursday. The mountains — some more than seven kilometres high and 10 kilometres wide — are believed to have formed from sediment carried into the ocean by rivers running from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. They sit near India’s Andaman Islands, said Smith Dharmasaroja, chairman of the National Disaster Warning Centre.

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1 Comment

  1. Smith Dharmasarojana is talking about a submerged atomic bomb that waiting to explode anytime.

    This 7-kilometres high mountain of mud is taller than Gauri Sankar at the Himalayas (Nepal/Tibet). Underwater sedimentation is formed horizontally.

    Therefore, unlike mountains on the ground, this gigantic pile has taken the shape of a 10-kilometres-wide plate of mud on the seabed.

    And it is waiting to tumble anytime followed by sending a mountain of seawater toward the coasts of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. It is worse than tsunami being caused by earthquake.

    Earthquake is certainly a major natural cause of this mountain of mud’s deadly displacement. But the underwater seismic activities may also trigger the silent catastrophe.

    The area we are talking about is known for being the rich reserves of oil and gas. Holes are drilled in the seabed and dynamites are exploded to capture three dimensional images of hydro-carbon reserves underneath.

    It is imperative to assess how long this mountain of mud withstands such underwater seismic explorations. Profit is the only consideration that energises the energy giants.

    Besides, various arsenals with lethal seismic impact are exploded in the sea during military exercises. Can such activities, by any chance, awaken the mountain of mud undersea?

    Interestingly, it is the military that is rushed for relief and rescue after the disaster.

    The governments of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand should jointly survey this underwater mountain and prohibit this area for any exploration and military activities.

    That will, at least, reduce the risk of causing the devastation by mankind.

    But the countries still remain vulnerable to the natural risk of this mountain tumbling anytime.

    That misfortune is inevitable. But the loss of life and other damages can be minimised if the authorities pay due respect to what the people like Smith Dharmasarojana says.