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The Warning System In Action

The ITWS is activated when earthquakes greater than 6.75 on the Richter scale are detected. The PTWC then collects all the data, determines the magnitude of the quake and its epicenter. Then they wait for the reports from the nearest tide stations and their tide observers. If a tsunami wave is reported, warnings are sent to the information dissemination centers.

The information dissemination centers then coordinate the emergency response plan to minimize the impact of the tsunami. In areas where tsunami frequency is high, such as Japan, the Russian Federation, Alaska, and Hawaii, there are also Regional Warning Systems to coordinate the flow of information. These information dissemination centers then decide whether to issue a "Tsunami Watch," which indicates that a tsunami may occur in the area, or a more serious "Tsunami Warning," which indicates that a tsunami will occur. The entire coastline of a region is broken down into smaller sections at predetermined locations known as "breakpoints" to allow the emergency personnel to customize the warnings to account for local changes in the behavior of the tsunami. The public is kept informed through local radio broadcasts. If the waves have not hit within two hours of the estimated time of arrival, or, the waves arrived but were not damaging, the tsunami threat is assumed to be over and all Watches and Warnings are canceled.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Toxicology - Toxicology In Practice to TwinsTsunami - Types Of Tsunami, Tsunami In History, Predicting Tsunami—the International Tsunami Warning System, The Warning System In Action