Geophysics

Appreciating underwater tsunamis

See allHide authors and affiliations

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.

PHOTO: KYODO NEWS/AP PHOTO

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).

Navigate This Article