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GSI to study tsunami soon

By K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI, DEC. 27. With the country having the first experience of tsunami, the Geological Survey of India is to take up a study of the phenomenon soon.

The study will be conducted by three teams along the Chennai-Nagapattinam-Kanyakumari-Alappuzha coastline, the Director-in-Charge, GSI, Operations, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry, M.M. Nair, told The Hindu here.

Soon after the disaster struck, a team from the GSI rushed to the Chennai coast and collected as much information as possible for a distance of 35 km about the "Seismic Ocean Waves" which had inundated the coastal areas. The epicentre of the earthquake was off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia and the wave propagation brought about the devastation. The distance between the epicentre and Chennai coast is about 2,000 km. Sri Lanka buffered the effect of the waves on the Tamil Nadu coast. As regards the ingress of sea water along the Kerala coast, Dr. Nair said this was possibly because of the wave action (hitting back effect) from the Lakshadweep Islands. Adding to this is the presence of sandy stretch and the low level of Kollam and Alappuzha.

Dr. Nair and G. Rajagopalan, Director, Engineering Geology Division, Operations, said that it was for the first time that the effect of tsunami on the Indian sub-continent was being experienced. The phenomenon and its mechanism should be studied so that it would be possible to suggest corrective measures. The exercise could be of great use in taking steps to evacuate people along the vulnerable coastline if time was available between the timings of the earthquake and the possible onslaught of the waves.

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