UNSWTV has launched a new YouTube series, called Catastrophic Science, to investigate the impact of natural disasters on research outcomes.
The first episode looks into how a study of soil compositions following the 2011 Japanese tsunami led scientists to completely re-evaluate the effects of such disasters.
The study found evidence that the tsunami extended as far as 4.5 kilometres inland, which was almost 2 kilometres more than previously thought. This more accurate assessment was only possible thanks to detailed chemical analysis of the soil – evidence that was not considered following previous natural disaster events.
The new study provides useful data for governments and relief agencies to help assess the need for and scope of safety measures to guard against future tsunamis. In other words, studying soil saves lives.