Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes

John McCloskey, Andrea Antonioli, Alessio Piatanesi, Kerry Sieh, Sandy Steacy, Suleyman S Nalbant, Massimo Cocco, Carlo Giunchi, Jian Dong Huang, Paul Dunlop

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Abstract

We investigate controls on tsunami generation and propagation in the near-field of great megathrust earthquakes using a series of numerical simulations of subduction and tsunamigenesis on the Sumatran forearc. The Sunda megathrust here is advanced in its seismic cycle and may be ready for another great earthquake. We calculate the seafloor displacements and tsunami wave heights for about 100 complex earthquake ruptures whose synthesis was informed by reference to geodetic and stress accumulation studies. Remarkably, results show that, for any near-field location: (1) the timing of tsunami inundation is independent of slip-distribution on the earthquake or even of its magnitude, and (2) the maximum wave height is directly proportional to the vertical coseismic displacement experienced at that location. Both observations are explained by the dominance of long wavelength crustal flexure in near-field tsunamigenesis. The results show, for the first time, that a single estimate of vertical coseismic displacement might provide a reliable short-term forecast of the maximum height of tsunami waves.
LanguageEnglish
PagesL14316
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume34
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

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tsunami
earthquake
wave height
earthquake rupture
flexure
subduction
seafloor
wavelength
simulation

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McCloskey, J., Antonioli, A., Piatanesi, A., Sieh, K., Steacy, S., Nalbant, S. S., ... Dunlop, P. (2007). Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(14), L14316. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030494
McCloskey, John ; Antonioli, Andrea ; Piatanesi, Alessio ; Sieh, Kerry ; Steacy, Sandy ; Nalbant, Suleyman S ; Cocco, Massimo ; Giunchi, Carlo ; Huang, Jian Dong ; Dunlop, Paul. / Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2007 ; Vol. 34, No. 14. pp. L14316.
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McCloskey, J, Antonioli, A, Piatanesi, A, Sieh, K, Steacy, S, Nalbant, SS, Cocco, M, Giunchi, C, Huang, JD & Dunlop, P 2007, 'Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, no. 14, pp. L14316. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030494

Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes. / McCloskey, John; Antonioli, Andrea; Piatanesi, Alessio; Sieh, Kerry; Steacy, Sandy; Nalbant, Suleyman S; Cocco, Massimo; Giunchi, Carlo; Huang, Jian Dong; Dunlop, Paul.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, No. 14, 07.2007, p. L14316.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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McCloskey J, Antonioli A, Piatanesi A, Sieh K, Steacy S, Nalbant SS et al. Near-field propagation of tsunamis from megathrust earthquakes. Geophysical Research Letters. 2007 Jul;34(14):L14316. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GL030494