Emile A. Okal, Northwestern University
Tsunamis: Warning, detecting, simulating, chasing
Tsunamis are gravitational oscillations of the water mass of an ocean basin set up by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, or bolide impacts. They represent an exceptional hazard capable of inflicting death and destruction on a global scale. Because their waves travel at a relatively slow speed (typically 200 m/s or the speed of a jetliner), there exists an opportunity for warning, at least in the far field. We will review the basic physics of the tsunami wave, the relationship between seismic source and tsunami excitation, and the scientific bases underlying the mitigation, warning, computer simulation, and and real time detection of tsunami waves. In particular, we will describe the development of robust discriminants in the near and far fields for tsunamis generated by earthquakes and landslides, and will give examples of field methods for the recovery of quantitative databases of inundation measurements.