Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Elephants heard the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami coming

When the 2004 tsunami struck coasts along the Indian Ocean, it was not a sixth sense that made elephants run for the hills, often carrying unsuspecting tourists on their backs to safety. It was because they heard the tsunami coming.

A tsunami is a very long water wave, its wavelength hundreds of miles long in the deep ocean. But in shallow water near land the wavelength shortens. The tsunami waves produce waves in the atmosphere of the same wavelength, which happens to be the wavelength of very low-frequency sound (called infra-sound).

It is too low in frequency for humans to hear, but the elephants can hear these sound waves. And in 2004 when they heard a thundering roar coming from the sea, they ran the other way as fast as they could. Anyone for establishing an Elephant Tsunami Warning System? For more Ocean facts check out Dr. Bruce Parker's book: The Power of the Sea


It shows that nature has all the alarm to hint our upcoming problems. We just have a need to identify them like the mentioned "SAATHI" - these "HAATHI". Isn't it friends??

Although I have heard about the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, I was never aware of all the details and the effort going on the predict and warn of future events. Just the shear number of earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. that occur without us knowing about them is amazing. All the cases described in this book about tides, waves, etc. show how important the sea has been throughout history. If you have ever had any interest in history and/or the sea, read this book.

Purchased this book after being sorely disappointed from reading "The Wave" by Susan Casey. And there I found what I really wanted: a whole up-to-date exposition of the knowledge as to how different types of waves in the ocean come to being and their impact on life on earth including their sometimes terrifying consequences on human societies. No breathless prose about extreme surfers, an extremely tiny group (although I would like to see a video of them doing it and talking about their experiences anyway), but, along the science, vivid description of the the aftermath on people...

A nice mixture of theoretical and applied science, history, journalism, epidemiology thrown together with multiple stories of extreme or historically noteworthy events. Exciting as well as informative read! Recommend highly.

It describes the devastation caused by these phenomena. For example, the book vividly describes the disasters that occurred at Galveston, TX, Katrina and New Orleans, and the December 24, 2004 tsunami. The book explains many other disasters that have occurred throughout history.

Dr Parker, a recognized authority in oceanography, has presented clear, easily understood descriptions of complex ocean wave phenomena and the history of man's attempt to understand their causes. He also outlines the state of the mathematical models for their predictions. The reader need not be a scientist or a mathematician to comprehend and appreciate "The Power of the Sea." If only more scientists and engineers would write as clearly as Dr Parker...

It's very technical and historical, but ever so interesting if you like oceanography and earth science. The reviews of key historical ocean events are incredible to learn, as is the advances in prediction of these events as individuals with differing backgrounds endeavor to understand what's happening through time. I'm finding it fascinating, informative, and educational as well as good reading. Nicely researched and annotated.

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