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Images: A New Tsunami-Warning System

WHOI engineer Lee Freitag and colleagues developed a long-range underwater sound-signaling system that detects tsunamis and sends out a sound signal from the ocean bottom toward shore. Cool, deep water acts as a sound channel. Sound waves refract from the warm water layer above and bend back down toward the seafloor, where modems receive the sound signal and send it out again, propelling it landward in arcs. (Illustration by Eric Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services)
WHOI engineers (from right) Lee Freitag, Peter Koski, and Keenan Ball tested a new sound-based tsunami-warning system in Indonesian waters in 2016. The team showed that sound signals could be sent entirely underwater from a seafloor sensor to shore, to quickly alert authorities of the possibility of a deadly tsunami. (Photo courtesy of Lee Freitag, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
On an Indonesian ship, WHOI engineer Keenan Ball works on a new communications system that will send sound signals from the seafloor toward shore to warn of an earthquake-triggered tsunami. Ball was part of the team led by engineer Lee Freitag that developed the long-range underwater signaling system. (Photo courtesy of Lee Freitag, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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