[design] tsunami and architecture

i hope those on list who live in areas devastated
by the tsunami are safe as are friends and family.
it is hard to fathom what has occurred, the scale.
i'd often heard of tsunami's being caused by an
earthquake yet have no memory of one occurring in
the news, and it was thought a 50' wave would be
the result, not the massive wall of water and the
forces of flooding. my particular research focus
is electromagnetism and this is one event in which
it is not very relevant in the event itself, as it
is understood, instead 'nature' overpowers anything
humans can construct and shows who remains the boss.

my first instinct was to wonder what could be done,
at least imagined, to prevent such waves from being
able to reach shore, such as with breakwaters and
dams. yet i've never heard of anything to do with
architecture and tsunami's and maybe civil engineers
have some techniques though i wonder if the scale of
the events are just too large for the scale of the
constructions that are built today, by nations and
not by international approaches.

for instance, i thought maybe it was possible that
gigantic concrete slabs on a series of rollers may
be placed along a perimeter of the ocean, which are
held at some small incline. these, if smashed by a
wave, might be pushed and capture some of the energy
and store it until the water can be pushed back by
gravity of the rollers. maybe it is a building or
concrete berms beneath a beach, something. maybe
it is impossible, the scale, to address it. yet,
so too, i wondered about undersea fiber-optic and
other cables, that maybe in addition to those in
use by weather services and geological monitoring
of sound and fault-lines, that maybe the mundane
infrastructure could become tied into a monitoring
of such events and coordinate other remote actions,
such that the lightspeed changes in information may
automatically signal alarms for these large defenses
at the perimeter of countries littoral/beaches, and
release some pin mechanisms to active the concrete
barriers before the waves would hit.

i thought satellites (.mil) would probably be able
to capture the waves themselves going across the
ocean from space, the scale of it, yet have not
seen it yet in mainstream online accounts. i saw
just now on cryptome some satellite images of some
areas before and after and during the tsunami, and
i think a GOES satellite or some other may have the
ocean itself though maybe it is not so literal.

QuickBird Images of Tsunami Sites

Architecture for Humanity and others are working
on an architectural effort to bring support for
those, and i wonder what architecture could do
long-term, and preventative, if anything can be
done to address these natural disasters and the
planning for them in some way, to minimize the
effects and loss of life. it is hard to fathom
the scale of the loss of life, and it would seem
that should it happen in the Atlantic Ocean that
similarly numbers of people might perish because
if near populated centers. it is on the scale of
a nuclear event, the entire population would be
gone from the city i am living in (twin cities,
minnesota) if it happened here. unbelievable.
(Bam, Iran, is mentioned in the article below.)

Architects Offer Help After Tsunami // login bugmenot.com

'The philosophy guiding many groups involved in housing relief is that homes are the foundation for restoring a destroyed community.'

does anyone know of the limits of building for
tsunamis, are there efforts to build for these
events or are they outside the realm of buildings
and more related to geographic features, landscape,
planning, zoning, civil engineering, management of
natural resources/water, ... any information/ideas?

if anyone on list is dealing with this it would
be great to know what is necessary and possible...

  • Re: [design] tsunami and architecture
    • From: lauf-s
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