Appreciating underwater tsunamis

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Science  01 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6354, pp. 883-884
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6354.883-c

Some tsunamis, such as the one that struck Tohoku, Japan, on 11 March 2011, may be amplified by submarine landslides.


Underwater landslides are an underappreciated source of dangerous tsunamis, and the conditions that create them are not well understood. Løvholt et al. developed a landslide model to simulate a few geologically recent underwater events and assess the differences in tsunami potential. They found that differences in the failure mechanisms could potentially explain the differences in tsunami genesis between similar-sized events. This includes the possibility that very large underwater mass transfers may not produce a tsunami at all.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL074062 (2017).

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