Bock: Almost instantaneously, because we get the data feeding in real-time, we can then, within a few seconds, say how the stations moved and then compare the motion to the motion expected from these scenario earthquakes. And on the basis of these motions, we can then determine whether a tsunami is likely to occur or not.
Narrator: According to Bock, such a system could have saved lives during the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004.
Bock: The tsunami actually took hours to hit India hit Thailand. So that would've given even more time to react.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.