“This is a test. This is only a test of the Tsunami Warning System.”

Tsunami Preparedness

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Earthquake readings

Sometimes living on the coast I get so enthralled with the beauty of it that I forget the other facets of life on the West Coast of Canada.

One of these is the possibility of a Tsunami taking place. Tsunamis are waves that are the results of earthquakes. Whether these earthquakes are near or far, when the ocean starts to react to the tremors, there is no real prediction as to what is going to take place or what effect it is going to have half way across the globe.

When I lived up on the Queen Charlotte Islands (aka Haida Gwaii) there was a drum in the local museum that would record the movings and shakings in the oceans surrounding those isolated islands. It was a fact of life. It just ‘happened’. Some of them we felt, others passed by unnoticed by the inhabitants.

In Port Alberni, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, 50 years ago there was a damaging Tsunami that caused major damage to the community. One of the major contributing factors is that the Alberni Inlet is a long narrow deep water inlet. This means that as the water hits the mouth of the inlet and travels inland, it gains speed, momentum and height as the volume of water is compressed.

Regardless, every wednesday at 1pm, the loudspeakers in the town I live in spark to life and proclaim loudly in quick succession using a male voice, then a female voice:

“This is a test. This is only a test of the Tsunami Warning System.”

Just a reminder that I’m in the “Zone”.

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