EARLY Wednesday morning a 8.3 magnitude earthquake caused a tsunami in the Pacific, killing at least 140 people in Samoa and Tonga. Later in the day a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit western Sumatra in Indonesia, drowning hundreds of people and burying thousands more under rubble.
Many in Samoa claim the warning system in place failed because an alert was only received after the tsunami hit. The official line has been that when the earthquake is close to land, the technology is such that there is simply not time for adequate warnings.
Brisbane-based engineer, now publisher, John McRobert, disputes this assessment claiming major earthquakes have precursor seismic shocks hundreds of kilometres below the Earth’s surface, and the transmigration of the energy, and the path to the surface can be accurately predicted:
“IN the early 1960s, a visionary Chief Engineer of the Queensland Co-ordinator General’s Department, John Kindler, called all of his engineering staff to a meeting (there were about 40 of us). He gave a dissertation about how development close to the frontal dunes at the Gold Coast was of concern, and of the (even then) huge economic risk of major storm assault on the coastline. He asked for two volunteers to spend a few years at the Dutch Delft Hydraulic Laboratories, the world’s leaders in handling storm erosion. Two volunteers stepped forward and from that the Beach Protection Authority was established to perform some excellent work in protecting our coastline from storm damage. The group was eventually absorbed into the Harbours and Marine Department.
In those days, Australia was considered to be a stable geologic platform with no volcanic activity, very few local earthquakes, and the word ‘tsunami’ wasn’t even in the lexicon.
The action was around the ‘Ring of fire’ in the Pacific, and in 1962, the failure of earth scientists to warn inhabitants of the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands of a damaging volcanic eruption demanded action, and this resulted in a remarkable collaboration between Dr Claude Blot, a French volcanologist, and John Grover, an Australian earth scientist, who found and proved answers to long lead-time, accurate, early warning of volcanic eruptions and great earthquakes. They showed that these major events had precursor seismic shocks hundreds of kilometres below the Earth’s surface, and the transmigration of the energy, and the path to the surface could be accurately predicted. Some of the most dramatic examples of this is told in John Grover’s book, Volcanic Eruptions and Great Earthquakes (here I have to declare that this book was published by my company).
The Grover/Blot team was broken up for political reasons – it was deemed more politically acceptable to let the events happen without warning, than to make a prediction which could be wrong and which could therefore create unnecessary panic.
John Grover died a few years ago, but his work is being continued by a seismologist based in Canberra, Dr Dong Choi. After the Sumatran tsunami, I asked Dr Choi if it could have been predicted. The answer sent prickles up the back of the neck when he said ‘The data fits’.
But mainstream academia refused to review the John Grover book, and here we have seen another fast and furious catastrophe in the Samoan region. It had no warning. How would the Gold Coast cope?
We are spending billions chasing a will’o’the’wisp gas called carbon dioxide which is essential to life on Earth, and which is driven by climate, not by puny man-made emissions, and ignoring real research as to how to predict and manage natural cataclysm.
Where are our priorities?
Brisbane, Australia “