CTBTO contributes to tsunami warning following the earthquake in Chile

Monitoring stations belonging to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) contributed to the rapid alerts issued by tsunami warning centres in the Pacific region following the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile early on Saturday morning (27 February).  The data from about 20 seismic and hydroacoustic stations was sent directly and in real time to warning centres in the region, including Australia and the United States (Hawaii). This helped the centres issue swift alerts to Chile and other Latin American countries as well as to the wider Pacific region.

The CTBTO monitoring data has proven to be the speediest and most reliable data, with up to three minutes lead-time compared to other data.  The quick transmission of the data to tsunami warning centres in the Pacific region increases the ability for them to issue more rapid warnings both in their regions and worldwide.

-    “In this time of sorrow, it is at the same time important that we at the CTBTO can do our share and contribute to disaster mitigation and save lives,” Tibor Tóth, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, said in a comment.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty bans all nuclear explosions.  The CTBTO is building a 337-facility network to monitor the planet for compliance with the Treaty.  When complete, seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere, and radionuclide stations will sniff the air, for any sign of a nuclear explosion.  

Monitoring data have a number of other possible uses including tsunami warning, research on the Earth’s core, monitoring of earthquakes and volcanoes, climate change research, atmospheric monitoring and biological research.

The CTBTO is currently contributing data from close to 40 stations to regional tsunami warning centres in Japan and the United States (Alaska and Hawaii), and to national tsunami warning centres in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

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