Gas, fire, and water



From the detailed report of the International Tsunami Survey Team (ITST) (Eos, March 2, 1999), it seems that we now can add two more hazards to tsunami events [Kawata et al., 1999]: the release of toxic gases and the ignition and combustion of flammable gases.

This conclusion can be drawn from the investigation of last July's Papua New Guinea tsunami disaster: “The team also tried to explain reports of sea bubbling, foul smelling gas, and warm water stinging the eyes.” Among the questions and observations of the local people were “eyewitness descriptions of the tsunami as an ”infernal wall of water with fire sparkles flying.“The inferred conclusion, that the tsunami involved an underwater source of fire, would also be suggested by severe burns widely observed on the dead.” [Kawata et al, 1999].