National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2013

Nano-resolution technology demonstrates promise for improved local tsunami warnings on the MARS project

Paros, J., C. Meinig, M. Spillane, P. Migliacio, L. Tang, W. Chadwick, T. Schaad, and S. Stalin

In Oceans 2012 MTS/IEEE, Yeosu, Korea, 21–24 May 2012, doi: 10.1109/OCEANS-Yeosu.2012.6263411 (2012)

Recent advances in deep-ocean tsunami measurement technology coupled with tsunami forecast models have reliably demonstrated that tsunami impact can be predicted before the tsunami reaches the affected coastlines. These forecast models are based on observations that are typically 1000 km or more from the earthquake epicenter. The major challenge today is to forecast tsunamis in the near field where the tsunami wave is often overwhelmed by the seismic event. Nano-resolution pressure sensors have the necessary resolution to distinguish between tsunami and seismic signals and ocean noise in the near field. This study describes the results of a 17 month experiment that was initiated on June 30, 2010, at the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) cabled observatory in Monterey Bay, California. The experiment compared a conventional pressure sensor and a nano-resolution pressure sensor at a depth of approximately 900 m. The results presented include examples of near- and far-field earthquakes and micro-tsunamis that were detected by the nano-resolution pressure sensor. Through wavelet analysis several micro-tsunamis were identified. The paper also describes additional testing planned by NOAA on the nano-resolution pressure sensors for potential application to the NOAA DART System.

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