Tsunami Devastates Indonesia

Jack Smith, Editor-in-Chief

Just weeks after Hurricane Florence struck the east coast affecting thousands in the United States, on the other side of the world just recently Indonesia’s coast was hammered by a tsunami. As of Tuesday October 2, 2018 over 1,200 people were reported dead with the number continually rising.
The exact cause of the tsunami is still unclear but it is believed that there was a strike-slip fault, which is when tectonic plates move horizontally. This is usually not the cause of strong tsunamis, thrust earthquakes are. That is when tectonic plates move vertically which causes large portions of water to be displaced. These earthquakes can lead to deadly tsunamis.
The Indonesian people are now searching for answers, such as what warning systems were in place and did they fail? It is believed that the meteorological system, BMKG, removed the tsunami warning too early which caused the people of Palu to be unprepared for the massive waves coming its way. Another reason for the failure to warn the people was that the buoys that are out at sea to detect earthquakes and tsunamis, have not been serviced in over six years and they may not even work anymore.
While it is easier to try to find someone to blame for the disaster, the most likely reason for people being unprepared was that the waves hit land just thirty minutes after the initial earthquake. That is not nearly enough time for people to evacuate and to get to safety.
There are some estimates that say the waves were moving at around 500 miles per hour. As they entered Palu bay the waves became more concentrated and the force of the waves was amplified. The waves reached almost six meters at some points and devastated about a kilometer of the shore inland. The depth of the bay allowed the waves to continue on to shore at such a high velocity.
Tsunamis do not seem to happen often, but when they do they completely destroy everything in their path. They truly are one of nature’s worst nightmares.

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