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Tsunamis

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA: June 23, 2004


A satellite image of the waterfront area of
Aceh province's capital city before the
tsunami.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA: December 28,


2004
An image taken after the tsunami shows
destroyed housing and the shoreline nearly
wiped out.

What is a Tsunami?
When mass movement, such as an

earthquake or landslide, suddenly


displaces a large amount of water from its
equilibrium state a disastrous wave called
a tsunami can form.
Tsunami literally translates from Japanese
to harbor wave but are often call tidal
waves because small, distant-source
tsunamis resemble tidal surges.

Tsunami Sources

Earthquakes (e.g. Sumatra, 2004: >200,000


people killed; Papa New Guinea, 1998: ~3,000
people killed)
Volcanic eruptions (e.g. Krakatoa, 1883:
tsunamis killed 30,000 people; Santorini, 2002).
Mass Movement (e.g. Alaska, 1958: waves up to
518 m high formed in Lituya Bay).
Extraterrestrial Impacts - large impacts have the
potential to create enormous tsunamis.

Tsunami Earthquake Sources

Earthquakes that suddenly uplift or down-drop


the sea floor generate tsunamis.
Generally such surface deformation is largest for
reverse and normal faulting earthquakes, and
small for transform faulting events thus the
potential for tsunamis is lower for strike slip
faults (e.g. the Balleny earthquake 1998 did not
generate a tsunami). In general tsunami are
generated by reversal faults.

Tsunami Genesis
Tsunamis are

caused by events
that drastically and
suddenly shift a
large volume of
water.

FromPlummerMcGearyCarlson

Tsunami Earthquakes
Some earthquakes have generated very

large tsunamis for their size. These


events are called tsunami earthquakes.

Analysis of seismograms from these events


suggest that they are the result of lowfrequency seismic energy.
These earthquakes present a problem for
tsunami warning systems

Tsunami Earthquakes
One way to identify these events is to

compare Ms to Mw

Ms ~ 20 seconds period
Mw ~ 100-200 seconds period

Since the signals are enriched in long

periods the magnitude is unusually larger


than the Ms estimate.

Standard
Earthquake
M~7.0

An earthquake with a big


vertical component is more
tsunamogenic than a purely
horizontal event.
Slow events with a long
duration are also sources of
larger tsunamis
FromE.Okal

Slow-source Tsunami Earthquake


mb ~5.8, MS ~7.2, MW~7.7

Describing Ocean Waves

Ocean waves are deformations of the sea surface.


Wavelength: distance between crests ()
Wave height: vertical distance between crest and
trough
Period: time between 2 successive crests to pass (T)

Describing Ocean Waves


The deformation propagates with the wave speed while on average water
remains in the same position (the water does not pile up on the beach).
Water moves in the propagation direction at the crest while moving in the
opposite direction at the through.

Water of a deep-water wave moves in a circular orbit on a circle


which diameter is decreasing downward. The motion become
negligible at a depth of ~ half wavelength.

Describing Ocean Waves


Energy moves in the propagation direction.
Most ocean waves are produced by wind bringing the
energy from the wind offshore toward the coast.

The rate at which a wave loses its energy is inversely


related to its wavelength. Long-wavelength waves
can travel further.

Describing Ocean Waves

Deep water waves are surface waves.


Deep Water: the water depth where a wave passing
overhead is not discernable at the sea bed.
Deep Water Waves: the wavelength is < 1/2 Water
depth (D)

Describing Ocean Waves

Wind Waves: T~ 10-20s ~10-600m


Deep Water Velocity: v=/T (v~1-30m/s)
The speed of deep water waves depends on
wavelength, deep water waves are dispersive.
Shallow Water Velocity:
2D

g
v=
tanh
L
d < 20 c
2

gD

Describing Ocean Waves

Shallow Water Velocity:

v = gD

The shallow water velocity does not depend on wavelength.


Shallow water waves do not show dispersion.

As the wave approaches shallow water the shape of the


motion becomes more elliptical and the velocity slows down.
To conserve
energy the wave rises higher.

Describing Ocean Waves

Tsunami Wave: T~3600 s ~800 km


Since the ocean has an average depth of 5 km it is always
a shallow water wave, the velocity is increasing with ocean
depth. (friction with the bottom lower)

v = gD

Typical tsunami wave velocity (water depth 5000m) v~220


m/s = 792 km/hr (cruise velocity Jumbo 747 ~800km/hr)

Describing Ocean Waves

Tsunami Wave: T~3600 s ~800 km


Since the long-wavelength waves lose less energy a tsunami
can travel transoceanic distances with only limited energy loss.
In the deep ocean the amplitude of a tsunami is a few cm to few
dm on a very long wavelength: it is not felt aboard a ship or seen
from air in open ocean (but can be measured by buoy or satellite
altimeter).
When a tsunami approaches the shoreline the velocity
decreases (D diminish) and in order to conserve energy
(proportional to v and H) the amplitude increases.

2
gD2
H D1
vD 2
=
=
2
H D 2 v D1
gD1

FromUNESCO/PTWCtsunamibooklet

An Example

Tsunami Wave Example: Sumatra 2004


How long does it take to get to Sri Lanka?
Distance~1600km
WaterDepth~4000m
m
km
v = gD 9.8 * 4000 = 198 = 713
s
hr

T=2000/713=2.2hr

An Example

Tsunami Wave Example: Sumatra 2004


How long to get to Thailand?
Distance~500km
WaterDepth~1500m
m
km
v = gD 9.8 *1500 = 120 = 430
s
hr

T=500/430=1.1hr

An Example

Tsunami Wave Example: Sumatra 2004


Correct numerical model using observed source and
high definition bathymetry of the front propagation

Courtesy: K.
Satake,
unpublished

An Example

Tsunami Wave Example: Sumatra 2004


How high is the wave?
2
gD2
H D1
vD 2
=
=
2
H D 2 v D1
gD1

2
gD2
H D1
0.6 2
=
=
=
2
2
HD2 HD 2
gD1

9.8 *10
H D 2 = 7.6m
9.8 * 4000

NOAA

QuickTime and a
GIF decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

Describing Tsunamis
Tsunami wave height is the height of the

wave at the shore.


Tsunami run-up height is the maximum
height that the wave reaches on land.

Tsunami Locations
Large subduction zones produce the most

tsunamis. The Pacific, rimmed with


subduction zones, has the most tsunamis.

Pacific ~ 80%
Atlantic ~ 10%
Elsewhere ~ 10%

Tsunami Propagation
Tsunamis are most devastating near the

earthquake. They are larger and strike the


region soon after the earthquake.
They also travel across entire oceans and
cause damage and death thousands of
miles from the earthquake.

QuickTime and a
Cinepak decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

Local Tsunami Damage


Damage close to the tsunami is usually more
devastating.
Even small events can generate locally high waves.
(For example in a bay the waves can be focused
and increase their amplitude, a landslide triggered
by an earthquake in a fiord in Alaska in 1958
created waves with a run-up up to 518 m high).
The warning time can be dramatically short.

Wave diffraction

Waves that pass from a media where they move


fast to a media where they move more slowly, are
refracted, and waves that move around obstacles,
are diffracted. This can highly influence the local
damages resulting from the waves.

QuickTime and a
Cinepak decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

Bascom,1964

86feet=26m

QuickTime and a
GIF decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

Tsunami Warning
Because tsunamis travel relatively slowly,

we have a chance to warn distant regions


of potential tsunamis.

These efforts provide strong arguments for


real-time earthquake monitoring.

Alerts are issued routinely by cooperating

governments.
Check out:

http://wcatwc.gov/

Tsunami Warning

As soon as an earthquake of magnitude >6.5 is


located in the sea the alarm start.
Using computer simulations and maps like the
one in the following slide scientists forecast the
time of arrival in different locations.

Tsunami Travel Times


(Hawaii)

1998
From Merritts et al.,

Tsunami Warning

As soon as an earthquake of magnitude >6.5 is


located in the sea the alarm start.
Using computer simulations and maps like the
one in the following slide scientists forecast the
time of arrival in different locations.
The use of Buoy and tide gauges help to verify
the effective presence of a tsunami, the alarm is
given.

Tsunami Warning

As soon as an earthquake of magnitude >6.5 is


located in the sea the alarm start.
Using computer simulations and maps like the one in
the following slide scientists forecast the time of
arrival in different locations.
The use of Buoy and tide gauges help to verify the
effective presence of a tsunami, the alarm is given.
Once that the alarm is given is necessary that the
local communities have emergency plans, that they
receive the messages, and that the population
knows what to do

Sumatra Tsunami 2004

Aemergencyreactionexample(thankstoBenz,USGS)

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
People are sensing severe
shaking

1 minutes after OT

NEIC
No information regarding
earthquake

PTWC
No information regarding
earthquake and/or tsunami

90

100

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
10 minutes after OT

Significant structural damage


in Banda Aceh
Tsunami inundation along the
Sumatran coast
EQ is widely felt throughout
the region

NEIC
P

Short period alarm on eight


stations in the region

PTWC
Short period alarm on western
Pacific stations
Short-period alarm stations

10 minutes after OT

10 minutes after OT

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
Tsunami inundation spreads
further along the Sumatran
coast

12 minutes after OT

NEIC
Short period alarm on sixteen
stations In the region

Mb6.2, Mwp8.2 earthquake


located off the north coast of
Sumatra
Pager notification to duty
seismologists and others at
NEIC

PTWC
Mwp8.2 earthquake located
off the north coast of Sumatra

90

No tsunami advisor for the


Pacific Ocean

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
16 minutes after OT

Tsunami inundation spreads


further along the Sumatran
coast and reaches the
Nicobar Islands

NEIC
First automatic location released
at NEIC

Pager notification to about 10


people in the USGS

PTWC
Confers with NEIC on the
location and magnitude of the
Earthquake
Release Tsunami Information Bulletin

01:14
Information Bulletin

WC&ATWC Tsunami

Location 3.4 N, 95.7 E


BASED ON LOCATION AND MAGNITUDE THE
EARTHQUAKE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT TO GENERATE
A TSUNAMI DAMAGING TO CALIFORNIA - OREGON WASHINGTON - BRITISH COLUMBIA OR ALASKA.
SOME AREAS MAY EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA LEVEL
CHANGES. IN AREAS OF INTENSE SHAKING
LOCALLY GENERATED TSUNAMIS CAN BE
TRIGGERED BY SLUMPING. THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI
WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE TSUNAMI BULLETINS
FOR HAWAII AND OTHER AREAS OF THE PACIFIC.

16 minutes after OT

16 minutes after OT

30 minutes after OT

M5.5

34 minutes after OT

M6.1
M5.5

39 minutes after OT

M6.0
M6.1
M5.5

43 minutes after OT

M5.5
M6.0
M6.1
M5.5

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
Tsunami is passing thru the
Nicobar Islands

44 minutes after OT

NEIC
Automatic Ms magnitude is
calculated (Ms8.5)
Pager notification to about 30
people in the USGS
Aftershocks suggest Ms8.5 is
too low

PTWC
0

90

Confers with NEIC on the


location and magnitude of the
earthquake
Notifies US Military on Diego
Garcia on the possibility of
an approaching tsunami

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Northern Sumatra
75 minutes after OT

Tsunami reaches the Andaman


Islands, approaches the Thai
coast

NEIC
Releases reviewed
earthquake location and
magnitude (Ms8.5)
Pager notifications are sent
to 25,000 people
Call down list is activated
Wire service reports
of collapsed buildings in
Banda Aceh

PTWC
90

Telephone Call-Down List


USGS Earthquake Hazards Program Coordinator
USGS Office of Communications
02:30
USGS NEIS Coordinator
White House situation room
State Department Operations Center
FEMA Operations Center
International Commission on
Renal Failure, Alberta, Canada
EERI
USGS GHT Chief Scientist
USGS GHT Chief Scientist
USGS CR Executive for Geology
02:32

02:30 UTC
02:25
02:35
02:36
02:37
02:39
02:42
02:27
02:29

Msg
Pager/Email
Pager
Pager/Email
Fax/Email
Email
Email

Agency

USGS Earthquake Program, Reston and Golden


FEMA, Washington DC area
UN Radio Readiness Group, New York
Japan Meteorological Agency, Tokyo
Schweizerischer Erdbebendienst, Zurich,Switzerland
Servicio Hidrogrfico y Oceanogrfico de la
Armada, Chile
Email
Rseau National de Surveillance Sismique, EOPGS,
Strasbourg, France
Email
Seismic Data Analysis Center, BGR, Hannover,
Germany
Email
Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian Branch,
Novosibirsk, Russia
Email
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
Email
US Strategic Air Command, Nebraska
Email
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Virginia
Email
European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre,
Bruyres-le-Chtel, France
Email
Instituto Geogrfico Nacional, Madrid, Spain
Email
World Agency of Planetary Monitoring and EQ Risk
Reduction, Geneva

Recipients of embassy news release message


(Sent between 02:21 and about 02:30)
Msg. type
Fax/Email

Agency
US Embassy Consular Section,
Jakarta, Indonesia
Fax/Email
US Consulate General,
Surabaya, Indonesia
Fax/Email
US Consular Agent, Denpasar,
Indonesia
Fax
UN Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian
Affairs, Geneva,
Switzerland

104 minutes after OT

104 minutes after OT

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Indian Ocean
122 minutes after OT

Little communication from


Banda Aceh
Destruction in Pkuket
Tsunami hits Sri Lanka

NEIC
Continuing dialogue between
USGS scientists in Golden,
Reston and Menlo Park
No confirmation via wire
services of tsunami in the
Indian Ocean
Wire service reports of
building collapse in Banda
Aceh
Web content is being
developed and posted

Propagation, Response and Warning Times


for the M9.0 Sumatra EQ
Indian Ocean
122 minutes after OT

Little communication from


Banda Aceh
Destruction in Pkuket
Tsunami hits Sri Lanka

NEIC
Continuing dialogue between
USGS scientists in Golden,
Reston and Menlo Park
No confirmation via wire
services of tsunami in the
Indian Ocean
Wire service reports of
building collapse in Banda
Aceh
Web content is being
developed and posted

CanWeDoBetter?Yes
Improvedsensornetworksinhazardsareasoftheworld(seismic,
tidegauge,oceanbuoys)andcoordinateddistributionand
processingofdata
Betterinformationcontentthatcanbetterassistemergency
responderstoassessthescopeofthedisaster
Coordinationandintegrationwithnational,regionalandlocal
emergencyresponseagenciesandcivilauthorities
Educationandtrainingatnational,regionalandlocallevelsof
governmentandthegeneralpopulation

Tsunami Hazard Mitigation


We can warn people of potential tsunamis

from distant earthquakes. Warning of near


source tsunamis is much more difficult.
Prevention of tsunami catastrophes
requires carefully planned use of low-lying
areas.

This is not always possible, or affordable.

Protecting Yourself (Tsunami)


Move to higher ground.
Wait until authorities give the go ahead to

return to low-lying regions.


Watch for surges of water in rivers and
streams near the coast.
If you feel a strong earthquake, dont wait
for a formal warning.

Rivers & Lakes

Shaking & Rivers & Lakes


Tsunamis are an ocean phenomena, but

any large body of water can be at risk if a


larger part of its water is suddenly
displaced.
Collapsing river banks or lake bluffs can
be hazardous to anyone on the water and
disrupt river traffic, which can impact local
economies.

Seiches
The sloshing of closed bodies of water

during an earthquake is call a seiche.


Large earthquakes have produced
seiches observed over large areas.
Although seiches have produced waves
with a height of a few feet, damage was
minimal.

Landslide in lakes
A much more serious hazard is a landslide

that it a lake in particular artificial basins.


In this case the wave generated can
overtop the dam and/or cause the dam
failure. The results can be devastating
(e.g. Longarone, Italy, 1963, 1917 people
killed)

LandslideTsunami
SissanoLagoonPapuaNew
Guinea
EarthquakeMagnitude~7.0
Landslide~35km3[0.61.0miles ]
Tsunami1015meters[3050feet]
3

1929GrandBanks
EarthquakeMagnitude~7.2
Landslide~185km3[~35miles ]
Tsunami 412meters[1240feet]

MidAtlanticCoast
Landslide~150km3[~30miles ]
Tsunami??????
3

NewJerseyCoast
Landslide~120km3[~25miles ]
Tsunami??????
3

The2004BoxingDayEarthquake

1946 Hilo

Anchorage, Alaska 1964

Anchorage, Alaska 1964

Photographic sequence
from hotel balcony in
Thailand (1 of 2)

Photographic sequence (2
of 2)

Recognize fraudulent images Dont be fooled