08 April 2013

Tsunami-detection system to be installed in Subic Bay

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), in collaboration with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (Asti), will install tsunami-detection sensors at Sueste Point in Subic Bay, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), to provide real-time information and warning signals to high-risk coastal communities here.

Dubbed the Community Tsunami Detection and Warning System, the locally developed sensors are part of a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) grant-in-aid project called the “Establishment of a Cost-effective Local Tsunami Early Warning System for Selected High-Risk Coastal Communities of the Philippines” or TeWS.

These sensors are TeWS’s final target for this phase of the project, and come after tsunami warning sirens were installed in Mabacong and Santa Rita Aplaya villages in Batangas City, Batangas province, in February.

The tsunami detection equipment is composed of a platform with a pole to which different sensors are attached: ultrasonic tide, dry and wet.

The ultrasonic tide sensor will note the rise and fall of the sea level, while the dry sensor will determine whether water has receded immediately after a large earthquake, which can be capable of generating a tsunami.

The wet sensor, on the other hand, will be installed at different heights—one meter (m), 5 m and 8 m or 10 m—and can detect if tsunami water has already hit the pole.

Information generated by the system reaches the local government unit (LGU) in almost real-time.

In cases when an earthquake is strong enough to cause a tsunami, the LGU can activate a siren to warn people in coastal areas of the danger and give them enough time to prepare and flee their homes.

The sensors at the tsunami-detection site communicate all signals to alerting sirens using GSM-communication developed by Asti.

Experts from both the Phivolcs and Asti designed the sensors and the whole system.

Earlier, sirens have been put in place in Subic town, Olongapo City and SBMA. All are now operational.

The Phivolcs and Asti earlier installed tsunami detection sensors in Bolinao town, Pangasinan province, for the Lingayen Gulf with five pilot sirens in Pugaro, Gueset and Binloc villages in Dagupan City and in the town proper of Lingayen and Bolinao.

They also put up tsunami-detection sensors in Rapu Rapu town for the Albay Gulf with five sirens installed in San Roque, Bonot, Puro, and Rawis villages in Legazpi City and in Rapu Rapu town proper; and in Corregidor and Lubang Island for both the Batangas Bay and Manila Bay clusters.

Under the TeWS, each cluster will have one tsunami-detection system and alerting stations or warning sirens for five pilot communities. (PNA)