Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 27 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 27, No. 2
Pages 68 - 75


A Possible Submarine Landslide and Associated Tsunami at the Northwest Nile Delta, Mediterranean Sea

By Ahmet C. Yalciner , Andrey Zaytsev , Betul Aytore , Isil Insel, Mohammad Heidarzadeh , Rozita Kian , and Fumihiko Imamura 
Jump to
Article Abstract Citation References Copyright & Usage
Article Abstract

A hypothetical landslide tsunami at the Nile Delta in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is modeled in order to study hazards it would pose to the region. The methodology used is based on numerical simulation of the generation and propagation of a realistic landslide scenario. The volume of the landslide source is 41 km3, located offshore northern Egypt. The maximum simulated wave heights along the northern, southern, and eastern coasts in the region are in the range of 1–12, 1–6.5, and 0.5–3 m, respectively. The maximum tsunami current velocity along the coasts reaches ~ 2–5 m s–1. Simulations show that bathymetric features in the region and the coastal morphology focus the maximum tsunami waves into some specific paths along which the largest tsunami runup heights occur. The semi-enclosed nature of the eastern Mediterranean causes wave reflections, which result in several wave trains arriving at every coastal site. In some coastal sites, the largest simulated wave belongs to the second wave train, indicating that wave reflection is responsible for this delayed large wave. Based on the results, deployment of a network of deepwater pressure gauges may help in detection and early warning of possible landslide-generated tsunamis in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Yalciner, A.C., A. Zaytsev, B. Aytore, I. Insel, M. Heidarzadeh, R. Kian, and F. Imamura. 2014. A possible submarine landslide and associated tsunami at the Northwest Nile Delta, Mediterranean Sea. Oceanography 27(2):68–75, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.41.


Bardet, J.-P., C.E. Synolakis, H.L. Davies, F. Imamura, and E.A. Okal. 2003. Landslide tsunamis: Recent findings and research directions. Pure and Applied Geophysics 160:1,793–1,809, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-003-2406-0.

Bondevik, S., F. Lovholt, C. Harbitz, J. Mangerud, D. Alastair, and J.I. Svendsen. 2005a. The Storegga Slide tsunami: Comparing field observations with numerical simulations. Marine and Petroleum Geology 22:195–208, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2004.10.003.

Bondevik, S., J. Mangerud, S. Dawson, D. Alastair, and O. Lohne. 2005b. Evidence for three North Sea tsunamis at the Shetland Islands between 8000 and 1500 years ago.Quaternary Science Reviews 24:1,757–1,775, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.10.018.

Borrero, J.C., J. Bu, C. Saiang, B. Uslu, J. Freckman, B. Gomer, E.A. Okal, and C.E. Synolakis. 2003. Field survey and preliminary modeling of the Wewak, Papua New Guinea earthquake and tsunami of 9 September 2002. Seismological Research Letters 74:393–405, https://doi.org/10.1785/gssrl.74.4.393.

Borrero, J.C., H. Davies, B. Uslu, E. Okal, and C. Synolakis. 2002. Preliminary modeling of tsunami waves generated by the earthquake of 9 September 2002 offshore of northern Papua New Guinea. Paper presented at the 2002 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Abstract #S62C-1213 available at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFM.S62C1213B.

Ducassou, E., S. Migeon, T. Mulder, A. Murat, L. Capotondi, S.M. Bernasconi, and J. Mascle. 2009. Evolution of the Nile deep-sea turbidite system during the Late Quaternary: Influence of climate change on fan sedimentation. Sedimentology 56:2,061–2,090, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3091.2009.01070.x.

El-Sayed, A., I. Korrat, and H.M. Hussein. 2004. Seismicity and seismic hazard in Alexandria (Egypt) and its surroundings. Pure and Applied Geophysics 161:1,003–1,019, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-003-2488-8.

Garziglia, S., S. Migeon, E. Ducassou, L. Loncke, and J. Mascle. 2008. Mass-transport deposits on the Rosetta province (NW Nile deep-sea turbidite system, Egyptian margin): Characteristics, distribution, and potential causal processes. Marine Geology 250:180–198, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2008.01.016.

Harbitz, C.B. 1992. Model simulations of tsunamis generated by the Storegga Slides. Marine Geology 105:1–21, https://doi.org/10.1016/0025-3227(92)90178-K.

Heidarzadeh, M., S. Krastel, and A.C. Yalciner. 2014. The state-of-the-art numerical tools for modeling landslide tsunamis: A short review. Pp. 483–495 in Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, vol. 37, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-00972-8_43.

Imamura, F., and M.M.A. Imteaz. 1995. Long waves in two-layers: Governing equations and numerical model. Science of Tsunami Hazards 13:3–24.

Insel, I. 2009. The effects of the material density and dimensions of the landslide on the generated tsunamis. M.Sc. Thesis, Middle East Technical University, Department of Civil Engineering, Coastal and Ocean Engineering Division.

Loncke, L., V. Gaullier, G. Bellaiche, and J. Mascle. 2002. Recent depositional patterns of the Nile deep-sea fan from echo-character mapping. AAPG Bulletin 86:1,165–1,186, https://doi.org/10.1306/61EEDC42-173E-11D7-8645000102C1865D.

Loncke, L., V. Gaullier, L. Droz, E. Ducassou, S. Migeon, and J. Mascle. 2009. Multi-scale slope instabilities along the Nile deep-sea fan, Egyptian margin: A general overview. Marine and Petroleum Geology 26:633–646, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2008.03.010.

Lynett, P.J., J.C. Borrero, P.L.-F. Liu, and C.E. Synolakis. 2003. Field survey and numerical simulations: A Review of the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami. Pure and Applied Geophysics 160:2,119–2,146, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-003-2422-0.

Okal, E., J. Borrero, and C. Synolakis. 2002. Solving the puzzle of the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami: The case for a slump. Pp. 863–877 in Proceedings of the Solutions to Coastal Disasters ’02, https://doi.org/10.1061/40605(258)74.

Okal, E., and C. Synolakis. 2001. Comment on “Origin of the 17 July 1998 Papua New Guinea Tsunami: Earthquake or Landslide?” by E.L. Geist. Seismological Research Letters 72:362–366.

Onat, Y., and A.C. Yalciner. 2013. Initial stage of database development for tsunami warning system along Turkish coasts. Ocean Engineering 74:141–154, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceaneng.2013.09.008.

Ozer, C., and A.C. Yalciner. 2011. Sensitivity study of hydrodynamic parameters during numerical simulations of tsunami inundation. Pure and Applied Geophysics 168:2,083–2,095, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-011-0290-6.

Satake, K. 1988. Effects of bathymetry on tsunami propagation: Application of ray tracing to tsunamis. Pure and Applied Geophysics 126:27–36, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00876912.

Synolakis, C.E., J.-P. Bardet, J.C. Borrero, H.L. Davies, E.A. Okal, E.A. Silver, S. Sweet, and D.R. Tappin. 2002. The slump origin of the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series A 458:763–789, https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2001.0915.

Tappin, D.R., P. Watts, G.M. McMurtry, Y. Lafoy, and T. Matsumoto. 2001. The Sissano Papua New Guinea tsunami of July 1998: Offshore evidence on the source mechanism. Marine Geology 175:1–23, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0025-3227(01)00131-1.

Watts, P., C.C. Borrero, D.R. Tappin, J.-P. Bardet, S.T. Grilli, and C.E. Synolakis. 1999. Novel simulation technique employed on the 1998 Papua New Guinea Tsunami. Paper presented at the 1999 IUGG General Assembly, Birmingham, UK. http://appliedfluids.com/IUGG.pdf.

Yalciner, A.C., B. Alpar, Y. Altınok, İ. Özbay, and F. Imamura. 2002. Tsunamis in the Sea of Marmara: Historical documents for the past, models for the future. Marine Geology 190:445–463, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0025-3227(02)00358-4.

Yalciner, A.C., P. Gülkan, D.I. Dilmen, B. Aytore, A. Ayca, I. Insel, and A. Zaytsev. In press. Evaluation of tsunami scenarios for western Peloponnese, Greece. Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata, https://doi.org/10.4430/bgta0126.

Yalciner, A.C., C. Ozer, H. Karakus, A. Zaytsev, and I. Guler. 2010. Evaluation of coastal risk at selected sites against Eastern Mediterranean tsunamis. Coastal Engineering Proceedings 1(32), management.10, https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v32.management.10.

Yalciner, A.C., E.N. Pelinovsky, E. Okal, and C.E. Synolakis, eds. 2003. Submarine Landslides and Tsunamis. NATO Science Series, vol. 21, Springer, 328 pp., https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-0205-9.

Yalciner, A.C., E. Pelinovsky, A. Zaytsev, A. Kurkin, C. Ozer, and H. Karakus. 2006. NAMI DANCE Manual. Middle East Technical University, Civil Engineering Department, Ocean Engineering Research Center, Ankara, Turkey, http://namidance.ce.metu.edu.tr/pdf/NAMIDANCE-version-5-9-manual.pdf.

Yalciner, A., E. Pelinovsky, A. Zaytsev, C. Ozer, A. Kurkin, H. Karakus, and G. Ozyurt. 2007. Modeling and visualization of tsunamis: Mediterranean examples. Pp. 273–283 in Tsunami and Nonlinear Waves. Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-71256-5_13.

Zahibo, N., E. Pelinovsky, A. Yalciner, A. Kurkin, A. Koselkov, and A. Zaitsev. 2003. The 1867 Virgin Island tsunami: Observations and modelling. Oceanologica Acta 26:609–621, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0399-1784(03)00059-8.

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.