10/14/2008, 00.00
SRI LANKA

Sri Lankan scientist: fish behavior shows new tsunami warning

Melani Manel Perera
According to a scientist, some species have abandoned the Sumatra seabed, moving toward the coast of Sri Lanka, which could indicate a submarine earthquake. A similar migration was seen in 2004, in the days before the earthquake that caused the rogue wave.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Fish could be providing a new tsunami warning. A group of fish species that ordinarily inhabit the Sumatra seas have abandoned their waters for the area around Sri Lanka. A similar phenomenon was seen in December of 2004, in the days before the devastating underwater earthquake near the coast of Indonesia, which created the rogue wave.

"The tectonic plates of Sumatra could move during the next few days. This displacement could cause an earthquake, and we are not ruling out the formation of a tsunami." This is the prediction of the Sri Lankan scientist Ariyaratne, one of the leading experts at the national research center. He refers to the "behavior of a few marine species," capable of "detecting the movement of the water and seabed" of their habitat.

"Some groups of fish," the scientist continues, "are leaving the area risk of an earthquake to seek refuge in more tranquil waters. This is what happened in 2004, when they left the Sumatra seas for the coast of Sri Lanka. The same thing is happening now."

Ariyaratne says that thanks to his research in the sector, he has been able "to predict underwater earthquakes with a certain margin of anticipation" in the recent past. But he admits that the studies have to be improved. "Of course," the scientist concludes, "if we were able to refine this technique, it would be an excellent step forward in guarding against natural disasters, earthquakes and the tsunamis that follow them."

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