Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 3, 391–402, 2003

Special issue: Tsunamis

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 3, 391–402, 2003

  31 Oct 2003

31 Oct 2003

Landslide tsunami case studies using a Boussinesq model and a fully nonlinear tsunami generation model

P. Watts1, S. T. Grilli2, J. T. Kirby3, G. J. Fryer4, and D. R. Tappin5 P. Watts et al.
  • 1Applied Fluids Engineering, Inc., Private Mail Box 237, 5710 E. 7th Street, Long Beach, CA 90803, USA
  • 2Department of Ocean Engineering, Sheets Building, Narragansett Bay Campus, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI 02882, USA
  • 3Center for Applied Coastal Research, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 4Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, POST 602, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
  • 5Kingsley Dunham Centre, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, NG12 5GG, UK

Abstract. Case studies of landslide tsunamis require integration of marine geology data and interpretations into numerical simulations of tsunami attack. Many landslide tsunami generation and propagation models have been proposed in recent time, further motivated by the 1998 Papua New Guinea event. However, few of these models have proven capable of integrating the best available marine geology data and interpretations into successful case studies that reproduce all available tsunami observations and records. We show that nonlinear and dispersive tsunami propagation models may be necessary for many landslide tsunami case studies. GEOWAVE is a comprehensive tsunami simulation model formed in part by combining the Tsunami Open and Progressive Initial Conditions System (TOPICS) with the fully non-linear Boussinesq water wave model FUNWAVE. TOPICS uses curve fits of numerical results from a fully nonlinear potential flow model to provide approximate landslide tsunami sources for tsunami propagation models, based on marine geology data and interpretations. In this work, we validate GEOWAVE with successful case studies of the 1946 Unimak, Alaska, the 1994 Skagway, Alaska, and the 1998 Papua New Guinea events. GEOWAVE simulates accurate runup and inundation at the same time, with no additional user interference or effort, using a slot technique. Wave breaking, if it occurs during shoaling or runup, is also accounted for with a dissipative breaking model acting on the wave front. The success of our case studies depends on the combination of accurate tsunami sources and an advanced tsunami propagation and inundation model.

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