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November 17, 2016
Document Release Date: 
August 7, 2000
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April 3, 1946
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PDF icon CIA-RDP64-00658A000100310011-2.pdf138.36 KB
Approved For Release 2000/09/05: CIA-RDP64-00658A000100310011-2 Violent Nature The ancient truth that the forces of nature can be inestimably more violent than anything man can do at his worst has been demonstrated anew in the Pacific,, where a series of tidal waves generated by a disturbance in the ocean's floor have swept coast lines from Alaska to Chile, with heavy loss ,of life and property, and in- fl cted on the Hawaiian islands their worst di caster since the Jap attack on Pearl..Har- e~,"Rorie bomb, there is no defense against ptemplated. . ;,Although the Pacific ocean Is,, In"-fact , .J {enomena. At Okinawa and elsewhere the e iy- #vy took heavy losses from the character- - I"4 , , en Uncific typhoon Fran more dama in CL! g g y resent instance it is. probable that there ....d_ _r da d_ that ___.. rwat la l ing a "wrinkle" on the surface,fromi 0 f Ziich the tidal wave spread at a speed of l ..1; from 300 to 500 miles an hour, making i'ts orce felt within a majestically short time, L U, shores as far away as 7000 miles. 7i o that he can at least forewarn himself.; Om fay be' taken against the waves. For j example, when one of the frequent shocks i 1* reported from the Aleutians area, the; S ,scientist in the Hawaiian islands can. ;,reckon the time when danger may be ex- pected. But to make assurance really sure,. there should be a "permanent standby" on; the recording instruments. The quake ini this case was reported at 2 A. M. Honolulu, time, when nobody was on watch. The, waves arrived five hours later. Preparations continue in full swing for, the Navy's test of the atomic bomb at Bikini; A$'oll in the Pacific. But if 'we are reallyt going to lbg~d-our _Facific bases, we mush take account of the eccentricities, of that l "peaceful" 'ocean. 'It. Is conceivable., that' under certain circumstances. they might in- flict more damage than a hostile navy, Approved For Release 2000/09/05: CIA-RDP64-00658A000100310011-2 Appr 'f dDd 11tVJ08t$6MCIAFRBR&4-006&&000100310011-2 HARVARD UNIVERSITY SEISMOGRAPH STATION i-./ 0=42?3012611 NORTH A=71?33'45"" WEST L. DON LEET, SEISMOLOGIST IN CHARGE April 3, 1946 MARY P. COLLINS, ASSISTANT Colonel Charles P. Nicholas Military Intelligence Division War Department General Staff Pentagon Building Washington 25, D. C. GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM CAMBRIDGE 38, MASSACHUSETTS OUR Cambridge ADDRESS Just to keep your file up-to-date on the subject of geophysical re- search in the Pacific area, it occurs to me that there are a few aspects of the recent tidal wave situation which are of interest. For one thing, of course, it has been brought forcibly to the atten- tion of the general public that forces of nature in the Pacific are still things with which to contend in making any'long range plans for occupancy of that area. In that connection, I am enclosing an editorial from the Boston Herald of this morning. As you may suspect from its content, some of the ideas were planted with the writer when he phoned me yesterday for suggestions. _ For another thing, the Army and Navy in Hawaii have complained to the Coast and Geodetic Survey that they should have been warned of the approaching tidal wave. Such warnings have been issued in the past for large earthquakes near the Aleutians, although the majority of them do not cause tidal waves. The warning is possible when earth- borne waves from the earthquake reach. the Hawaiian Islands after a few minutes with enough information to permit rough location of the quake. The tidal wave then requires around five hours to make the trip, so that a warning of 34 hours is possible. On April 1, it happened that these earth-borne warnings arrived at 2 a.m. and, since even seismologists sleep once in a while, were not observed until too late. A coordinated program for defense against the forces of nature would have had these Hawaiian instruments and others in the area e- quipped with alarms which would. have operated when triggered by large displacements on the seismograph, and thereby constitute what amounts to a 24-hour standby watch on earthquakes capable of causing tidal waves. I have received a copy of 5.1850 presented February 21, 1946 as the latest version of the National Science Foundation proposals. The details seem 8 be shaping up very satisfactorily. What we need now is action in securing passage. Cully rs, L. Don Leet Approved For Release 2000/09/05: CIA-RDP64-00658A000100310011-2