|25 January 2017|

Wales

New research suggests deep-ocean sound waves could be used to stop tsunamis hitting the earth’s shoreline.

Dr Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, believes acoustic-gravity waves (AGWs)- used against tsunamis that are triggered by earthquakes, landslides and other violent geological events – could save lives.

AGWs are naturally occurring sounds waves that move through the deep ocean at the speed of sound and can travel thousands of metres below the surface.

Dr Kadri suggests, in a paper published in the journal Heliyon, that if a method could be found to engineer these waves, they could be fired at an incoming tsunami to react in a way which would its amplitude, or height, and causes its energy to be dissipated over a large area.

By the time the tsunami reaches the shoreline, Dr Kadri writes, the reduced height of the tsunami would minimise the damage caused to both civilians and the environment.

Dr Kadri also believes that this process of firing AGWs at a tsunami could be repeated continuously until the tsunami is completely dispersed.

“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,” Dr Kadri said.

“Up until now, little attention has been paid to trying to mitigate tsunamis and the potential of acoustic-gravity waves remains largely unexplored.

Dr Kadri continued: “In practice, generating the appropriate acoustic-gravity waves introduces serious challenges due to the high energy required for an effective interaction with a tsunami. 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.”