Thursday, June 21, 2018

False Alarm from Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre

Thursday morning I noticed a worrying message from the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre:
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 03:29:03 +0530 ...
"IOTWMS-TSP INDIA has detected an earthquake with the following preliminary information:
Magnitude  : 8.5  M
Depth      : 10  km                      
Date       : 20 JUN 2018
Origin Time: 2154UTC
... this earthquake may be capable of generating a tsunami affecting the Indian Ocean region."
This was alarming because an 8.5 magnitude earthquake is extremely large. But then I noticed the location was given as "TEST_TEST_CENTRAL CHILE".

As confirmed later, this was a test message which escaped from the internal system, out to the public:
"CANCELLATION MESSAGE ...
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 05:33:31 +0530

IOTWMS TSUNAMI SERVICE PROVIDER INDIA (ITEWC)
This is not a real event. This event was issued due to an operator error during an internal test. ..."
It took two hours to issue the correction, which is an unacceptably long time.