Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tsunami Researcher Makes Big Splash With Landslide Model

Date:
February 6, 2002
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
When University of Rhode Island ocean engineering professor Stephan Grilli says he’s making waves with his research, he’s not kidding. He uses a 30-meter wave tank to simulate landslides caused by underwater earthquakes to better understand how tsunamis form and move across the oceans.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – February 1, 2002 – When University of Rhode Island ocean engineering professor Stephan Grilli says he’s making waves with his research, he’s not kidding. He uses a 30-meter wave tank to simulate landslides caused by underwater earthquakes to better understand how tsunamis form and move across the oceans.

The National Science Foundation has awarded Grilli a $204,000 grant to further his research and develop a computer model that will simulate the effects of underwater landslides. The model will be used to better predict the impact of tsunamis around the world and help prevent the loss of life that often results from the massive waves.

Commonly called tidal waves even though they have nothing to do with the tides, tsunamis are usually created by earthquakes that occur at the bottom of the ocean. The shifting ocean bottom causes the movement of seawater over large distances.

"In deep water the wave may only be a foot high, something a boat wouldn’t even feel, but it can travel as fast as a jet across the ocean," explained Grilli. "As the wave moves into shallow water it slows down and grows taller. It could be 50 or 60 feet tall or more by the time it reaches shore."

Grilli and other scientists have recently shown that underwater landslides caused by earthquakes often contribute significantly to the size and intensity of tsunami waves. By studying the topography of the ocean bottom where earthquakes have occurred, scientists have explained why some modest earthquakes have resulted in massive tsunamis.

"In an unstable area where there are large accumulations of sediment, like along the continental shelf, an earthquake could cause a major landslide. And that combination of events can cause huge tsunamis," said the Narragansett resident. It is now believed that 60 percent of all major tsunamis are caused by the combined energy of an earthquake and landslide.

Grilli notes that tsunamis occur all the time – perhaps thousands each year, the majority in the Pacific Ocean – but most are too small to notice. Two or three times each decade, though, large tsunami waves kill hundreds of people, most recently in 1998 when 2,000 people were killed in Papua, New Guinea.

"Those we worry most about occur in shallow water close to shore, because they hit the coast quickly without any warning," he said. "And if they hit in low-lying areas, the wave can propagate far inland and cause serious flooding and loss of life."

Grilli’s tsunami prediction model is designed as a hazard assessment and mitigation tool. "If you can predict where they are most likely to occur and predict their intensity and speed, then you can mitigate potential damage."

The computer model he is creating is actually a series of models, based in part on the results of past tsunamis and on experiments conducted in the URI wave tank. One model will examine how earthquakes make sediments move, while another will focus on the physics of the resulting movement of water. Grilli will also create a model that predicts the flooding that will occur from the wave. All the models will be used in conjunction with a Geographic Information System (GIS) map.

When the model is complete in the fall of 2003, it will be made available on the internet for use by organizations like the Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the worldwide community of tsunami researchers, hazard assessment agencies, and emergency preparedness professionals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "Tsunami Researcher Makes Big Splash With Landslide Model." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020201074736.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2002, February 6). Tsunami Researcher Makes Big Splash With Landslide Model. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020201074736.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "Tsunami Researcher Makes Big Splash With Landslide Model." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020201074736.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Using an organic fertiliser, a conservationist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), leads an award-winning project to reforest the sanctuary of monarch butterflies. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins