Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 27, Number 2

2014, Oceanography 27(2):86–93, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.43

Source Processes for the Probabilistic Assessment of Tsunami Hazards

Authors | Abstract | Full Article | Citation | References


Eric L. Geist | US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, USA

Patrick J. Lynett | Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA



The importance of tsunami hazard assessment has increased in recent years as a result of catastrophic consequences from events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean and 2011 Japan tsunamis. In particular, probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment (PTHA) methods have been emphasized to include all possible ways a tsunami could be generated. Owing to the scarcity of tsunami observations, a computational approach is used to define the hazard. This approach includes all relevant sources that may cause a tsunami to impact a site and all quantifiable uncertainty. Although only earthquakes were initially considered for PTHA, recent efforts have also attempted to include landslide tsunami sources. Including these sources into PTHA is considerably more difficult because of a general lack of information on relating landslide area and volume to mean return period. The large variety of failure types and rheologies associated with submarine landslides translates to considerable uncertainty in determining the efficiency of tsunami generation. Resolution of these and several other outstanding problems are described that will further advance PTHA methodologies leading to a more accurate understanding of tsunami hazard.


Full Article

1.27 MB pdf



Geist, E.L., and P.J. Lynett. 2014. Source processes for the probabilistic assessment of tsunami hazards. Oceanography 27(2):86–93, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.43.



Abadie, S.M., J.C. Harris, S.T. Grilli, and R. Fabre. 2012. Numerical modeling of tsunami waves generated by the flank collapse of the Cumbre Vieja Volcano (La Palma, Canary Islands): Tsunami source and near field effects. Journal of Geophysical Research 117, C05030, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007646.
Atwater, B.F., and E. Hemphill-Haley. 1997. Recurrence intervals for great earthquakes of the past 3,500 years at northeastern Willapa Bay, Washington. US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1576, 108 pp., http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/pp1576.
Beauval, C., S. Hainzl, and F. Scherbaum. 2006. Probabilistic seismic hazard estimation in low-seismicity regions considering non-Poissonian seismic occurrence. Geophysical Journal International 164:543–550, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.02863.x.
Bell, H.M., and G.A. Tobin. 2007. Efficient and effective? The 100-year flood in the communication and perception of flood risk. Environmental Hazards 7:302–311, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envhaz.2007.08.004.
Bird, P., and Y.Y. Kagan. 2004. Plate-tectonic analysis of shallow seismicity: Apparent boundary width, beta-value, corner magnitude, coupled lithosphere thickness, and coupling in seven tectonic settings. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 94:2,380–2,399, http://dx.doi.org/10.1785/0120030107.
Burby, R.J. 2001. Flood insurance and floodplain management: The US experience. Environmental Hazards 3:111–122, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1464-2867(02)00003-7.
Cornell, C.A. 1968. Engineering seismic risk analysis. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 58:1,583–1,606.
Dosio, A., and P. Paruolo. 2011. Bias correction of the ENSEMBLES high-resolution climate change projections for use by impact models: Evaluation on the present climate. Journal of Geophysical Research 116, D16106, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JD015934.
Enet, F., and S.T. Grilli. 2007. Experimental study of tsunami generation by three-dimensional rigid underwater landslides. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering 133:442–454, http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-950X(2007)133:6(442).
Frankel, A.D., C.S. Mueller, T.P. Barnhard, E.V. Leyendecker, R.L. Wesson, S.C. Harmsen, F.W. Klein, D.M. Perkins, N.C. Dickman, S.L. Hanson, and M.G. Hopper. 2000. USGS national seismic hazard maps. Earthquake Spectra 16:1–19.
Geist, E.L., J.D. Chaytor, T. Parsons, and U. ten Brink. 2013. Estimation of submarine mass failure probability from a sequence of deposits with age dates. Geosphere 9:287–298, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/GES00829.1.
Geist, E.L., P.J. Lynett, and J.D. Chaytor. 2009. Hydrodynamic modeling of tsunamis from the Currituck landslide. Marine Geology 264:41–52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2008.09.005.
Geist, E.L., and T. Parsons. 2006. Probabilistic analysis of tsunami hazards. Natural Hazards 37:277–314, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-005-4646-z.
Geist, E.L., and T. Parsons. 2014. Undersampling power-law size distributions: Effect on the assessment of extreme natural hazards. Natural Hazards 72:565–595, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-013-1024-0.
Geist, E.L. and U.S. ten Brink. 2012. NRC/USGS Workshop Report: Landslide Tsunami Probability. USGS administrative report to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 43 pp., http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1227/ML12272A130.pdf.
González, F.I., E.L. Geist, B.E. Jaffe, U. Kânoglu, H.O. Mofjeld, C.E. Synolakis, V.V. Titov, D. Arcas, D. Bellomo, D. Carlton, and others. 2009. Probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment at Seaside, Oregon, for near- and far-field seismic sources. Journal of Geophysical Research 114, C11023, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2008JC005132.
Grezio, A., W. Marzocchi, L. Sandri, and P. Gasparini. 2010. A Bayesian procedure for Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Assessment. Natural Hazards 53:159–174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-009-9418-8.
Harbitz, C.B., F. Løvholt, G. Pedersen, and D.G. Masson. 2006. Mechanisms of tsunami generation by submarine landslides: A short review. Norwegian Journal of Geology 86:255–264.
Hayes, G.P., D.J. Wald, and R.L. Johnson. 2012. Slab1.0: A three-dimensional model of global subduction zone geometries. Journal of Geophysical Research 117, B01302, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JB008524.
Kagan, Y.Y., and D.D. Jackson. 1991. Long-term earthquake clustering. Geophysical Journal International 104:117–133, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.1991.tb02498.x.
Kagan, Y.Y., D.D. Jackson, and R.J. Geller. 2012. Characteristic earthquake model, 1884–2011, R.I.P. Seismological Research Letters 83:951–953, http://dx.doi.org/10.1785/0220120107.
Lee, H.J. 2009. Timing of occurrence of large submarine landslides on the Atlantic Ocean margin. Marine Geology 264:53–64, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2008.09.009.
Lee, H.J., H.F. Ryan, P.J. Haeussler, R.E. Kayen, M.A. Hampton, J. Locat, E. Suleimani, and C.R. Alexander. 2007. Reassessment of seismically induced, tsunamigenic submarine slope failures in Port Valdez, Alaska, USA. Pp. 357–365 in Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, vol. 27, V. Lykousis, D. Sakellariou, and J. Locat, eds, Springer,Netherlands, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6512-5_37.
Lombardi, A.M., and W. Marzocchi. 2007. Evidence of clustering and nonstationarity in the time distribution of large worldwide earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research 112, B02303, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2006JB004568.
Lynett, P., and P.L.-F. Liu. 2002. A numerical study of submarine-landslide-generated waves and run-up. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A 458:2,885–2,910, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2002.0973.
Lynett, P.J., and P.L.-F. Liu. 2005. A numerical study of run-up generated by three-dimensional landslides. Journal of Geophysical Research 10, C03006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2004JC002443.
Masson, D.G., C.B. Harbitz, R.B. Wynn, G. Pedersen, and F. Løvholt. 2006. Submarine landslides: Processes, triggers and hazard prediction. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A 364: 2,009–2,039, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2006.1810.
Nicholson, T.J., and W.A. Reed, eds. 2013. Proceedings of the Workshop on Probabilistic Flood Hazard Assessment (PFHA). NUREG/CP-0302, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/conference/cp0302.
Page, M.T., and J.M. Carlson. 2006. Methodologies for earthquake hazard assessment: Model uncertainty and the WGCEP-2002 forecast. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 96:1,624–1,633, http://dx.doi.org/10.1785/0120050195.
Paris, R., A.D. Switzer, M. Belousova, A. Belousov, B. Ontowirjo, P.L. Whelley, and M. Ulvrova. 2014. Volcanic tsunami: A review of source mechanisms, past events and hazards in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea). Natural Hazards 70:447–470, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-013-0822-8.
Parsons, T., R. Console, G. Falcone, M. Murru, and K. Yamashina. 2012. Comparison of characteristic and Gutenberg-Richter models for time-dependent M ≥ 7.9 earthquake probability in the Nankai-Tokai subduction zone, Japan. Geophysical Journal International 190:1,673–1,688, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05595.x.
Parsons, T., and E.L. Geist. 2009. Tsunami probability in the Caribbean region. Pure and Applied Geophysics 165:2,089–2,116, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-0346-0057-6_7.
Petersen, M.D., T. Cao, K.W. Campbell, and A.D. Frankel. 2007. Time-independent and time-dependent seismic hazard assessment for the State of California: Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast Model 1.0. Seismological Research Letters 78:99–109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1785/gssrl.78.1.99.
Resio, D.T., J. Irish, and M. Cialone. 2009. A surge response function approach to coastal hazard assessment—Part 1: Basic concepts. Natural Hazards 51:163–182, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-009-9379-y.
Urlaub, M., P.J. Talling, and D.G. Masson. 2013. Timing and frequency of large submarine landslides: Implications for understanding triggers and future geohazard. Quaternary Science Reviews 72:63–82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.04.020.