Scientist proposes shooting down tsunamis with sound waves

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A University of Cardiff researcher thinks it might be possible to defuse destructive tsunamis generated by earthquakes with targeted deep sound waves.

According to Usama Kadri, acoustic gravity waves could be directed against the incoming tsunamis, shooting them down and dissipating their immense energy. The technology would make it possible to reduce the damage these deadly waves cause on the shores.

"Up until now, little attention has been paid to trying to mitigate tsunamis and the potential of acoustic-gravity waves remains largely unexplored," said Kadri who described his theory in the journal Heliyon.

"In practice, generating the appropriate acoustic-gravity waves introduces serious challenges due to the high energy required for an effective interaction with a tsunami."

Similarly to tsunamis, the gravity acoustic waves arise during violent tectonic events. However, unlike the tsunamis, the acoustic waves travel deep under the ocean’s surface.

Kadri believes these waves could be created or controlled artificially and used as an anti-tsunami shield. The waves would be repeatedly fired at the tsunamis. Each interaction would reduce the amplitude of the waves until their complete dissipation.

"Within the last two decades, tsunamis have been responsible for the loss of almost half a million lives, widespread long-lasting destruction, profound environmental effects and global financial crisis," said Kadri.

"However, this study has provided proof-of-concept that devastating tsunamis could be mitigated by using acoustic-gravity waves to redistribute the huge amounts of energy stored within the wave, potentially saving lives and billions of pounds worth of damage."

The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami triggered in the Indian Ocean after a magnitude nine earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history, causing more than 230,000 deaths in 14 countries.

The earthquake and tsunami unleashed 1,500 times more energy than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

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