The early warning system of tsunamis in Chile, declared of 'public interest'

21 / 05 / 2018

The Ministry of Public Works of Chile has recently declared ‘of public interest’the initiative presented by DOMINION to provide the State of Chile with an Early Warning System (TSS) of Tsunamis at national level, which means that DOMINION must now develop the necessary studies to specify in detail the scope of the system.

The objective of the project is to deploy an infrastructure that allows the population to be alerted, quickly and effectively, to the eventual risk of a tsunami; something that is of vital importance since the times of action with which it is sometimes counted are very limited, and early warning is key so that people can take the necessary measures to safeguard their lives.

Early warning systems (S.A.T.)

There are several types of early warning systems through which to alert the population, and in Chile, the national emergency office of the Ministry of the Interior (ONEMI) has opted to implement a network of sirens that complement other notification procedures available. The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is considered a reference worldwide when implementing best practices in emergencies and disasters), considers alert networks based on sirens as one of the most appropriate early warning systems, due to the fact that it constitutes a specific infrastructure dedicated exclusively to this purpose, while other systems (mobile telephony networks, television, radio, social networks, etc.) depend on third-party infrastructures both for the dissemination of the alerts themselves and to guarantee the availability of the medium. On the other hand, a system based on massive notification through sirens does not require the population that has any specific device, as with other systems.

Chile is located at the western end of the continental plate of South America, in convergence with the oceanic plates of Nazca and Antarctica, which form subduction zones (the oceanic plates submerge under the continental plate) along the Chilean coast. This situation in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire makes Chile an area of ​​great seismic activity, with shallow-focus earthquakes throughout the subduction zones responsible for most of the destructive tsunamis.

Applied technological innovation

DOMINION has already supplied, installed, commissioned and currently maintains the warning systems of two regions of Chile (region of Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins and Arica Parinacota). In addition, the DOMINION team in Chile has carried out pre-feasibility and engineering studies for the design of the system in several regions.