16 March 2008

The Tsunami Bomb

The not-wife, being fascinated in disasters, decided that the BBC programme “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Tsunamis” was appointment television. In the end it was more like one or two things we didn’t know about Tsunamis. One of these unknowns was the Tsunami Bomb .

During wartime the military will entertain ideas that would almost certainly be shown the door during peacetime. And so it was in 1944 and 1945 that top-secret experiments (Known as Project Seal) were conducted off the coast of Auckland at Whangaparaoa by Auckland University professor Thomas Leech. Leech conducted hundreds of underwater explosions in the hope of developing a weapon that would trigger tidal waves in 1944 and 1945. According to “Ten things” programme the experiments were an utter failure. After 4000 test explosions, none of which generated an appreciable effect and the project was closed down when it was determined that there were errors in the theoretical basis of the plan.

However, according to New Zealand papers released only in 1999 the US and British military were eager for Seal to be developed in the post-war years too. They even considered sending Professor Leech to Bikini Atoll to view the US nuclear tests and see if they had any application to his work. Leech did not make the visit, although a member of the US board of assessors of atomic tests, Dr Karl Compton, was sent to New Zealand.

"Dr Compton is impressed with Professor Leech's deductions on the Seal project and is prepared to recommend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all technical data from the test relevant to the Seal project should be made available to the New Zealand Government for further study by Professor Leech," said a July 1946 letter from Washington to Wellington.

Could have it ever succeeded? According to another New Zealand Herald article Tsunami researchers at the University of Waikato believed that the bomb was fundamentally feasible. A modern approach to the idea could produce waves up to 30m high.

Dr Willem de Lange, of the Department of Earth Sciences, said studies proved that while a single explosion was not necessarily effective, a series of explosions could have a significant impact. Dr de Lange said the waves were not high because the energy was projected upwards, not sideways. He believed the same principle would be true for a tsunami bomb.

"You can't confine the energy. Once the explosion gets big enough, all of its energy goes into the atmosphere and not into the water. But... if you had a series of explosions in the same place, it's much more effective and can produce much bigger waves."

To be honest this sounds like one of the wilder ideas of a mad scientist – the sort with an assistant called Igor and a lab full of Tesla coils. Personally I think the idea is pretty ludicrous. Even if a large amount of explosives could indeed create a tsunami, I would imagine dropping the bombs on the chosen would cause rather more damage. I’m surprised it hasn’t been touted more by the tinfoil hat brigade’s mill though


The Lone Beader® said...

Yea. That idea is crazy, and I'm not surprised. It's just more of us humans trying to play Mother Nature/God by manipulating the environment to cause catastrophe against mankind.

RC said...

that's crazy...sounds like some type of whack TV threat off Alias or something.


jams o donnell said...

I wouldn't put anything past human ingenuity LB. That said I think this one is beyond our capabilities, mercifully

It's a crazy idea RC but wartime allows these ideas to bubble out of the madhouse!

Anonymous said...

They should have given him an H-bomb to bury in one of the Trenches, Mindanao(?)perhaps - just as a test you understand - and the resultant upheaval could have wrecked the Pacific Basin and...
Oh the wonder of it all. Ain't science grand, especially in conjunction with the military/industrial complex.

jams o donnell said...

Not sure if that would work Aileni. It would need to be absolutely enormous

Sean Jeating said...

Oh dear, reality meets my vision. - It's somehow both shocking and amazing.
And herwith I am off to the balcony. Need a cigarette and chatting with the moon. :)

jams o donnell said...

It really is Sean. I must do more mad science. I will post something about HMS Habakkuk a proprosed 2 million ton aircraft carrier!

Sean Jeating said...

Hardly can't wait reading it, Jams.
And now, hand on heart: You studied with de Selby, didn't you? :)

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Okay, but how many water park owners read this and got all excited about using these techniques for their mechanical wave pools.

jams o donnell said...

Ah Sean, Me and Thomas - we developed DMP you know!

Truly EWBL it will be the greatest development in waterpark technology since jacuzzi manufacurers harnessed the awesome power of beans!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That be old news, Jams, see here:


"Detonating nuclear bombs in the Andaman Sea is a way of destabilizing the governments of Burma, Thailand, and Laos--the countries that comprise the opium-rich Golden Triangle. In the process, the Israelis killed close to 100,000 Muslims (their blood enemies) in the Sumatra Island."


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Wait, I could have been fingering the wrong party:


"Edward Cardinal Egan is now responsible for being the Black Pope's tool in implementing two great mass-murders: the CIA/FBI controlled attack on 911 destroying the World Trade Center and a portion of the Pentagon, and the man-made, mass-murdering tsunami in Indonesia."

jams o donnell said...

Fuske me Snoopy, what nutjobs!

Anonymous said...

See the thing is; this "bomb" doesn't even need to expolde, per se. Lets think of how reverb/sound waves affects piano strings. When a large sound is introduced near or around the piano, the stings begin to vibrate from the sound waves and reverb. This is done without any direct physical contact to the piano. So with that concept and lots 'o power, the theory is, one could channel energy (i.e. microwaves/radio waves) into the earth and "vibrate" the bedrock, vibrating so violently that the result could be a tsunami. Lookup HAARP, its a similar idea and its fully funded by the feds. Peace-