Ultrasonic Sensors Help Provide Tsunami Warning

Featured Product from Senix Distance and Level Sensors


Senix ToughSonic ultrasonic sensors play a critical role detecting sea level changes as part of a sophisticated Tsunami Early Warning System (TeWS) in the Philippines. Senix engineers collaborated with the Philippines Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) to customize ToughSonic 50 ultrasonic sensors for this first-of-its-kind water level monitoring system. Each ToughSonic 50 sensor is integrated into a tide gauge platform that also includes ASTI-designed wet and dry sensors, a solar power system and wireless communications equipment. Hundreds of these tide gauge platforms are integrated to create the largest and most sophisticated Tsunami warning system in the world. This system is also able to detect storm surges from typhoons and tropical storms.

Manila Trench Tsunami Risk

The impetus for the TeWS system is the Manila Trench, an earthquake-prone zone west of the Philippine island of Luzon, that reaches depths of 17,700 feet and is prone to earthquakes. The Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has forecast that a strong earthquake in the Manila Trench could trigger tsunamis with waves up to 32 feet high that could reach the populous Manila metropolitan area in less than an hour. 

Ultrasonic Sensors Measure Sea Level

The ultrasonic sensors detect any significant rise and fall in the sea level. The data is logged on each platform and then sent in real time to a data receiving center operated by PHIVOLCS where data from all the sensors are consolidated and analyzed using data visualization, interpretation and decision software. The analysis results can be sent to local government agencies in near real-time where officials can sound off sirens to warn people in high risk areas to move to higher ground.

Rugged Waterproof Sensors Required

The ASTI chose the Senix ToughSonic 50 ultrasonic sensor because of ToughSonic’s unique combination of durability and flexibility and because of the personal service provided by Senix engineers through the research and design process. ToughSonic 316 stainless steel housings, epoxy potting and IP68 immersion rating are ideal for harsh marine environments. Senix worked with ASTI to customize the ToughSonic 50 to meet their unique interface and cabling requirements.