Experimental study of tsunami generation by three-dimensional rigid underwater landslides

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Large scale, three-dimensional, laboratory experiments are performed to study tsunami generation by rigid underwater landslides. The main purpose of these experiments is to both gain insight into landslide tsunami generation processes and provide data for subsequent validation of a three-dimensional numerical model. In each experiment a smooth and streamlined rigid body slides down a plane slope, starting from different initial submergence depths, and generates surface waves. Different conditions of wave nonlinearity and dispersion are generated by varying the model slide initial submergence depth. Surface elevations are measured with capacitance gauges. Runup is measured at the tank axis using a video camera. Landslide acceleration is measured with a microaccelerometer embedded within the model slide, and its time of passage is further recorded at three locations down the slope. The repeatability of experiments is very good. Landslide kinematics is inferred from these measurements and an analytic law of motion is derived, based on which the slide added mass and drag coefficients are computed. Characteristic distance and time of slide motion, as well as a characteristic tsunami wavelength, are parameters derived from these analyses. Measured wave elevations yield characteristic tsunami amplitudes, which are found to be well predicted by empirical equations derived in earlier work, based on two-dimensional numerical computations. The strongly dispersive nature and directionality of tsunamis generated by underwater landslides is confirmed by wave measurements at gauges. Measured coastal runup is analyzed and found to correlate well with initial slide submergence depth or characteristic tsunami amplitude. © 2007 ASCE.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering