Case study: Detection and Early Warning of Tsunamis in Ecuador- Tonga volcano - January 15

Published on Friday, 21 January of 2022

The buoys of the Tsunami Early Warning System installed off the Manta y Esmeraldas coast in Ecuador have promptly and effectively registered an alerted in less than 35 seconds the wave generated by the violent eruption of the Hunga-Tonga submarine volcano (South Pacific) last Saturday, January 15, 2022. These buoys are managed by the Navy’s Oceanographic and Antarctic Institute (INOCAR).

Alerts in less than 35 seconds

This disturbance originated more than 10 thousand kilometers away, traveled in the form of a wave throughout the Pacific Ocean and was detected on January 15 by tsunami buoys model MSM EBM24-TS, which generated autonomously and automatically the corresponding alerts in the National Tsunami Warning Center of Ecuador attached to INOCAR. All this in less than 35 seconds after its detection, revealing the speed, strenght and reliability that the system has.

It should be noted that after the main wave of the tsunami detected by the Manta and Esmeraldas Tsunami Warning Buoys at 19:24:30 and 19:39:30 (UTC time on January 15, respectively), they continued to receive detailed messages that are part of the protocol established for the real time and subsequent monitoring when a tsunami event occurs, which reflected the continuity and reduction of wave disturbance.

A complete System for the detection and early warning of Tsunami

MSM has developed a complete System for Tsunami Early Warning Detection, with a compatible message structure and capable of being integrated into the NOAA platform. These systems highlight the relevance of extending the “culture of prevention” among citizens by issuing alerts with sufficient time, as a fundamental element to face these risks, and that of coordination between the different administrations and institutions.

The effective alerts received by these systems help us to protect millions of people who live and travel along de coastal areas. This fact confirms the idea that we must encourage, support and reinforce the awareness within the seafarer’s community and the general population about the importance of the maintenance and protection against vandalism of this equipment located on open seas, after all the purpose of these system is to protect the lives of their families, friends and loved ones.


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