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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:27 am 
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At Miyako City, a strong sea wall proved to be useless against the super-long tsunami wave, which seemed to drive an entire ocean’s power through/over anything resembling a solid barrier.




SAVIOR TREES


‘Mr. Selvum says that 172 families were saved from the tsunami in the fishing village of Thirunal Thoppu in India's Tamil Nadu state only because the mangroves are thriving and dense there. He also mentions three other Tamil Nadu villages where damage had been minimized by the aquatic trees. "Every village has more than 100 families, so just think of the number of lives saved," he says.

"Even though the mechanical impact of a tsunami is enormous, and is bound to destroy the first line of mangroves, the water suddenly slows down as it moves farther in," Selvum says.

According to Sridharan, mangroves form only 62 miles of the 620-mile Tamil Nadu coastline. If well looked after, they could save thousands of lives if their density is at least 70 percent in places. "They must be grown very thickly together to have any use as barriers," Sridharan explains.

Bittu Sehgal, a feature editor and ecologist at Sanctuary magazine, told the Indian Express newspaper that he firmly believes the famous mangrove reserve of the Sundarbans in West Bengal saved the coastal part of the state from severe losses.

"The forest officers on duty have reported there that the water level rose by three to five feet when the tsunami hit. But this is nothing abnormal as we can see 10- to 12-foot high tides on the Sundarbans coast. The mangroves saved us," he says.

Environmentalists say that to focus exclusively on mangroves would be a mistake. "We need many more coastal shelter belts that stop the intrusion of salt water, like casuarinas and acacia trees," says Selvum. "But, as usual, it is very late in the day." ‘
Source



Mangrove is derived from the Portugese ‘Mangue’ (concentration of varied plantlife) and English word ‘Grove’, usually describing huge swamp areas, including their land animals and saltwater marine life, as well as an impenetrable tangle of some 110 species of tropical trees and shrubs which together form a unique, incredibly rich ecosystem.
Source




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Cultivating mangrove trees at Coronie – Suriname. If a coast is suitable, new mangroves could be planted, to create a defensive zone against tsunamis.




CATCHING THE WAVE




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19th century Japanese art by Hokusai. Near land a tsunami slows down slightly and tens of meters high, unstoppable waves are created.




When a tsunami begins to ripple outward, a huge portion of sea or ocean abruptly gets jolted into motion (by quake/landslide), sending out circular waves several meters high, yet at an amazing hundreds of kilometers wavelength. The mega long waves of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami allowed it to cross 1600 kilometers of ocean, hitting Sri Lanka with nearly all of its original force, because 1600 km equaled merely 5 times its wavelength. Only when this hundreds of kilometers long ripple reaches the shallows near land/islands it slows down slightly and tens of meters high, unstoppable waves are produced. Highest run-up of tsunamis rolling inland was measured on Sumatra-Indonesia, at a whopping 49 meter. Khao Lak-Thailand showed traces of an 11 meter run-up. As it turns into a giant killer tsunami wave, the breaking wave front starts to generate sounds like a roaring storm, or even like approaching locomotives. The impact on beaches or coastal cliffs creates seismic and sound waves, similar to a distant thunderstorm or explosion.
Source: SCIENTIFIC FORUM ON THE TSUNAMI, ITS IMPACT AND RECOVERY 6-7 June 2005 AIT


After the 2004 tsunami scientists all over the world have been working on a global Early Warning System. Such great tsunamis should on average occur about every century, so they may have believed there was some time left to refine the way to detect waves, and warn coastal inhabitants at risk. The Japan-Sendai seaquake and giant wave, with nuclear calamity unfolding, on March 11, 2011 shows we have to make quicker preparations, like RIGHT NOW (I’m not kidding you).


In ELEPHANT WAVES I called attention to the possibility of adding monitoring of selected groups of animals, shown to be sensitive to Quake/Tsunami precursors, to the existing Early Warning technology.


But the freshly remembered tragic impact on Japan holds further urgent lessons to be learned. First off, single lines of strong sea wall proved to be useless against the super-long waves, which seemed to drive an entire ocean’s power though/over anything resembling a solid barrier. We all saw how flat agricultural lands and farming communities behind them were totally defenseless against the meters high roll out of fast moving water, debris and soil. More disappointing, supposedly earthquake hardened houses, buildings and nuclear reactors didn’t do very well either.




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The wide swath of Mangrove Swamp dissipated the force of the 2004 tsunami as it hit the Indian coastline.



Now Japan is renowned for developing Judo and Aiki-Do, self-defense methods spurning the use of force against force: they use more natural and harmonious ways to defeat aggressors, teaching students to become Gentle Warriors. The luck of Thirunal Thoppu village (among others), with 172 surviving families, may point to just such a tsunami defense. The wide swath of mangrove swamp dissipated the force of the 2004 tsunami as it hit the Indian coastline. The weird part is that mangroves are known as extremely vulnerable ecosystems, depending on shallow salty water, and a tangle of specialized plant life, trees and shrubs that bend, flatten and get easily uprooted by strong winds/waves! It is imo that very quality of softness, sheer pliability of millions of intertwined, yielding trees which managed to sap the power of the tsunami wave, and protect the villagers.



NOW LET’S GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT


With what we now know, there’s future in protecting existing Mangrove Swamps and Forests! Here nature conservation could mean the difference between life or death, if a Big Wave is spotted on your horizon! If a coast is suitable, new mangroves could be planted, to create a defensive zone against tsunamis. But in my wilder imagination, I expect scientists to be able to precisely figure out how mangroves do it, the principle of slowing down tsunamis. And copy it, using a manmade ‘forest’ of concrete and steel(?), designed for extreme flexibility, perhaps similarly placed in shallow water. Could the way to defeat the strongest wave be that of gentleness?



orangekea




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Mangroves are extremely vulnerable ecosystems, depending on shallow salty water, and a tangle of specialized plant life, trees and shrubs that bend, flatten and get easily uprooted by strong winds/waves.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:10 am 
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What a lovely thought. Unlike one of the U.S. politicians (who think we are here to "husband" the earth and take whatever can from from her), I'd rather plant more trees and have less harmful energy. I worry about the windmills, though, because of the migrating birds who fly into them and are killed. There surely must be better ways, although with all the geo-engineering clouds we're seeing more and more of all the time, perhaps that will dampen our hopes of being a solar world.

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