An Iowa State University geophysicist says the early warning systems for tsunamis are fine — it’s up to foreign governments to do more to get the warnings out to their citizens. Geophysicist Igor Beresnev says within minutes of a strong earthquake under the Pacific Ocean, any people along the shore should be warned to get to higher ground. “How this is technically achieved is up to the individual governments,” Bresnev says. Some have criticized U.S. scientists who observed the earthquake for not doing enough to warn citizens in other countries, but Bresnev says they did as much as they could, sending an alert to government officials in Indonesia. “In my opinion, they did what they should have done,” he says. The U.S. has an early warning system in place along the Pacific coastline — complete with warning sirens similar to tornado sirens. Bresnev says there’s really no need for a similar tsunami warning system along the Atlantic. Bresnev says the geology is slightly different in the Atlantic, and the kind of vertical earthquakes that cause tsunamis do not happen in that Ocean’s floor.
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