New tsunami warning agreement signed with Chile

Ambassador Gloria Navarrete Pinto, Permanent Representative of Chile and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo at the signature ceremony on 17 December 2020.
Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Gloria Navarrete Pinto and Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo at the signature ceremony.

Chile has become the 17th country to sign a tsunami warning agreement with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), strengthening its ability to issue effective public safety warnings when a tsunami threatens to strike along the country’s long, earthquake-prone coast.

The agreement with the Centro Sismológico Nacional de la Universidad de Chile (CSN) was marked on 17 December 2020 in a signature ceremony at CTBTO’s Vienna headquarters, attended by Ambassador Gloria Navarrete Pinto, Permanent Representative of Chile, and CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo.

The agreement means Chile’s national tsunami warning centre at the CSN will receive real-time data from the CTBTO’s International Monitoring System (IMS) stations, helping it to warn the public more quickly and accurately in case of approaching danger.

Strong earthquakes close to the Chilean coast have caused several devastating tsunamis over the past decade. In 2010 an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 8 off the coast of Maule produced a tsunami that caused hundreds of casualties. Similar earthquakes followed by tsunamis were experienced in 2014 northwest of Iquique, in 2015 offshore from Illapel and in 2016 south-west of Puerto Montt in southern Chile.

The CTBTO now has a total of 18 tsunami warning agreements in 17 countries: Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Madagascar, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, Russia and the United States.

The CTBTO has been providing real-time, reliable data on a test basis to tsunami warning centres around the world since March 2005. The data come from around 100 IMS stations in high tsunami risk areas.

The wealth of verification data captured by the IMS to detect nuclear tests also has a variety of important civil and scientific applications which – in addition to the CTBT’s verification purpose – can contribute to sustainable development and human well-being.

Chile hosts seven IMS monitoring stations: Auxiliary Seismic Station AS18 on Easter Island; Auxiliary Seismic Station AS19 in Limon Verde; Hydroacoustic Station HA03 on Juan Fernandez Island; Infrasound Station IS13 on Easter Island; Infrasound Station IS14 on Robinson Crusoe Island; Radionuclide Station RN18 in Punta Arenas; and Radionuclide Station RN19 in Hanga Roa, Easter Island, which includes a Noble Gas System facility.