TSUNAMI-South Asia-December 26th, 2004
New Year's falls just at the darkest hours,
Even as the sun lies sick and dying.
When the darkness turns hope starts anew,
Year by year a lesson ever true,
Each of us the bitter cold defying.
All my life I want to be with you,
Restoring year by new year what is ours.
New years are a chance for a beginning
Even when there hasn't been an end.
Wheels turn in an interminable bend,
Yet, marked in one spot, seem to wobble spinning.
Each year we hope to do a little better
Although we know that really nothing's changed.
Reason thinks that everything's arranged,
So we must dream if we would fate unfetter.
Happy New Year! To those who will have none,
A wish that knows too well it cannot be.
Perhaps one ought not wish so futilely;
Perhaps one ought, that such not be alone.
Yearning is the price one pays for hope,
Nor can one hope unless one would endure.
Each futile wish makes paradise more sure,
Widening the world's supernal scope.
Yet there are those who find such wishes cheap,
Easy substitutes for sacrifice.
A wish for good is more than merely nice,
Restoring winds that stir the unguent deep.
How sad, the year just passed! A year the past
Arose like smoke from deep beneath the rubble,
Pouring up through fissures in the heart,
Perhaps our own as much as those of others.
Year of hatred writhing in raw pain,
Near mad with certainty arrayed in faith,
Each aggrieved alight with righteous anger,
Whirlwinds swirling through their swathes of rage.
Yet let us in the new year look for justice,
Ever the rock on which to live in peace,
Administered with love for every soul,
Regarding every evil as our own.
Tsunami (a Japanese word meaning harbor wave) are gravity waves generated by large disturbances of the sea floor caused by volcanic eruptions, landslides or earthquakes. Shallow earthquakes along dip slip faults are more likely to be sources of tsunami than those along strike slip faults. In deep water tsunami travel at approximately 0.2 km/sec as compared to 5-10 km/sec for P waves and S waves.
Thus, approaching tsunami can be detected by sea floor pressure gauges which measure the height of the water column above the gauge. Tsunami warning systems consist of networks of such gauges connected to a control center.
A scale of magnitude for tsunami, similar to the Richter Magnitude scale for earthquakes, is based on logarithm of wave height corrected for distance from the source. The first motion (up-crest or down-trough) can be used to determine direction of sea floor displacement in the source area.
Our deepest condolences to the families of over 150 000 people (including 1000's of tourists) who died in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia and on the east-coast of Africa.