New Indonesia tsunami network could add crucial minutes

Indonesia's tsunami detection system, made up of seafloor sensors that communicate with transmitting buoys on the surface, has been rendered useless by vandals and lack of funding. Now Indonesian and U.S. scientists say they've developed a way to dispense with the expensive buoys and possibly add crucial extra minutes of warning for vulnerable coastal cities.

The prototype, nearly four years in the making, is designed to detect so-called near-field tsunamis and has been tested off Padang on the western coast of Sumatra. It awaits a decision on government funding to connect it to disaster agencies on land.

A tsunami triggered by a Dec. 26, 2004 earthquake in the Indian...