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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-224
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-224
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Aug 2018

Research article | 15 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

The Lituya Bay landslide-generated mega-tsunami. Numerical simulation and sensitivity analysis

José Manuel González-Vida1, Jorge Macías2, Manuel Jesús Castro2, Carlos Sánchez-Linares2, Marc de la Asunción2, Sergio Ortega-Acosta3, and Diego Arcas4 José Manuel González-Vida et al.
  • 1Dpto. de Matemática Aplicada, ETSII, Universidad de Málaga, 29080, Málaga, Spain
  • 2Dpto. de A.M., E. e I. O. y Matemática Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, 29080, Málaga, Spain
  • 3Unit of Numerical Methods, SCAI, Universidad de Málaga, 29080, Málaga, Spain
  • 4NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), Seattle, WA, USA

Abstract. The 1958 Lituya Bay landslide-generated mega-tsunami is simulated using the Landslide-HySEA model, a recently developed finite volume Savage-Hutter Shallow Water coupled numerical model. Two factors are crucial if the main objective of the numerical simulation is to reproduce the maximal run-up, with an accurate simulation of the inundated area and a precise re-creation of the known trimline of the 1958 mega-tsunami of Lituya Bay. First, the accurate reconstruction of the initial slide. Then, the choice of a suitable coupled landslide-fluid model able to reproduce how the energy released by the landslide is transmitted to the water and then propagated. Given the numerical model, the choice of parameters appears to be a point of major importance, this leads us to perform a sensitivity analysis. Based on public domain topo-bathymetric data, and on information extracted from the work of Miller (1960), an approximation of Gilbert Inlet topo-bathymetry was set up and used for the numerical simulation of the mega-event. Once optimal model parameters were set, comparisons with observational data were performed in order to validate the numerical results. In the present work, we demonstrate that a shallow water type of model is able to accurately reproduce such an extreme event as the Lituya Bay mega-tsunami. The resulting numerical simulation is one of the first successful attempts (if not the first) at numerically reproducing in detail the main features of this event in a realistic 3D basin geometry, where no smoothing or other stabilizing factors in the bathymetric data are applied.

José Manuel González-Vida et al.
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José Manuel González-Vida et al.
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Short summary
In 1958, at Lituya Bay in Alaska, the largest tsunami wave ever recorded took place. Since then, its numerical simulation has been a challenge and no numerical model had been able to reproduce, in the real geometry of the bay, the more than 200 m wave and the extreme runup (climbing of the water up on land) of 524 m. The aim of our research, in the framework of a collaboration between the University of Malaga (Spain) and NOAA (US), was to fulfil this gap. At the same time as verifying our model.
In 1958, at Lituya Bay in Alaska, the largest tsunami wave ever recorded took place. Since then,...
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