A high-energy particle detector placed along the Tokyo Bay Tunnel has been able to accurately detect tsunami waves from a typhoon in 2021.
The detector is primarily used to detect Muons passing through the water above them. This allows researchers to accurately measure changes in the volume of water passing above the sensors.
Muons originate in deep space and are generated by cosmic rays. The detectors were able to see that few numbers of Muons were detected as the waters of Tokyo Bay swelled and increased in volume due to a mild tsunami. The research is the work of Professor Hiroyuki Tanaka from Muographix at the University of Tokyo.
Commenting on the work and results, Tanaka stated:
“The Tokyo-bay Seafloor Hyper KiloMetric Submarine Deep Detector (TS-HKMSDD) is the first underwater muon observatory in the world, and it detected varying muon activity during the tsunami. This variation corresponds to the ocean swells which were measured by other methods. Combining these readings means we can use muographic data to accurately model changes in sea level, bypassing other methods which come with drawbacks.”
“Thanks to the success we’ve had from early tests such as this, similar systems are already being trialed in the U.K. and Finland. Obviously, an undertaking like this comes with challenges and installing delicate instruments in a busy tunnel could be difficult. But we are grateful for the cooperation of the agencies responsible for the Tokyo Bay tunnel. To the best of my knowledge, the tunnel is now the first active national road in the world defined as a laboratory.”