Superluminal Gravitational Waves and the Asian Tsunami
In his 1983 doctoral dissertation, LaViolette suggests that the arrival of a galactic superwave event may be preceded by a gravitational wave. The initial intensity of a galactic nuclei explosion may cause the gravitational wave to actually reach superluminal speeds. This could be as much as sixty-four times the speed of light, giving the wave a head start on the electromagnetic component of the blast. LaViolette has predicted that a superwave impact may be experienced as a gravitational wave impact first, followed by a major gamma-ray burst.
What is a gravitational wave?
Gravitational waves are emitted by neutron stars, black holes, and probably the galactic center. They have two important and unique properties: They don't need any type of matter to be propagated and they can pass through any intervening matter without being dissipated. This makes them different from electromagnetic radiation, which may be blocked out by interstellar dust, whereas a gravitational wave will pass through unimpeded.
Remarkably, the massive earthquake that caused the Asian tsunami of 2004 was followed just forty-four hours later by an enormous gamma-ray burst. The magnitude of both of these events was extremely unusual. The earthquake on December 26 measured 9.3 on the Richter scale. That's ten times bigger than any other earthquake in the last twenty-five years. The gamma-ray burst that followed on December 27 was the largest ever recorded by a factor of 100. The outburst was so powerful it released more energy in a tenth of a second than the sun emits in 100,000 years. Both of these events are categorized as Class 1 events. The probability of two such events falling so closely together is in the order of 5,000 to one against. Given this, LaViolette suggests that the Asian tsunami may have been caused by a gravitational wave impact.
The gamma-ray outburst came from a star called SGR 1806-20, located about 10° northeast of the galactic center at about the same distance to the center of the galaxy as our sun, approximately 26,000 light years. The star is just 20 miles wide, but its weight is 150 times the mass of the sun. During its active phase, it was 40 million times brighter than our star.
These two very unusual events happening in close proximity almost exactly fit LaViolette's description of a superwave impact. The gamma-ray burst from SGR 1806-20 was by far the largest ever recorded, but a galactic nucleus explosion could possibly contain more than 100,000 times even this vast amount of energy. The idea that a gravity wave emanating from thousands of light years away may have caused an earthquake and tsunami of the severity of December 26, 2004, is very sobering. This idea shatters the image of our galaxy as a calm and stable place where small incremental changes happen over vast epochs. Change may instead be abrupt, unforeseen, and transformative. It is unfortunate that not one of the three major gravitational wave–detecting telescopes was online at the time of the tsunami, which means that the gravitational wave hypothesis can be neither confirmed nor disproved for this event.