Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UCSC Geophysicist Creates Computer Simulation Of Indian Ocean Tsunami

Date:
January 6, 2005
Source:
University Of California, Santa Cruz
Summary:
Soon after hearing news reports of the tsunami that devastated coastal regions throughout the Indian Ocean, research geophysicist Steven Ward, an expert on tsunami hazards, went to work on his computer. Using sophisticated computational techniques to simulate the tsunami, Ward created an animated movie showing the tsunami waves spreading out through the Indian Ocean from the site of the powerful earthquake that triggered them.

This still image was taken from a computer-generated simulation -- developed by University Of California, Santa Cruz researcher Steven Ward -- of the tsunami that recently devastated coastal regions throughout the Indian Ocean.
Credit: Steven Ward, Earth Sciences Department, University Of California, Santa Cruz

Soon after hearing news reports of the tsunami that devastated coastal regions throughout the Indian Ocean, research geophysicist Steven Ward, an expert on tsunami hazards, went to work on his computer.

Using sophisticated computational techniques to simulate the tsunami, Ward created an animated movie showing the tsunami waves spreading out through the Indian Ocean from the site of the powerful earthquake that triggered them.

The simulation (see: http://www.es.ucsc.edu/%7Eward/indo.mov), based on the physics of earthquakes and tsunamis, is preliminary because geologists have not yet fully characterized the earthquake, Ward said.

"The tsunami model depends on earthquake parameters, so as we learn more about the earthquake I will be able to refine it. But the essence of the phenomenon is captured in the animation," he said.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the most powerful earthquake recorded in more than 40 years, struck underwater off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on December 26. The resulting tsunami caused devastation throughout South Asia, with the death toll now estimated at 150,000.

According to Ward, the speed of a tsunami depends on the depth of the water, with waves traveling as fast as 400 miles per hour in the deep ocean.

When they come ashore, they are typically moving at about 30 miles per hour, he said, adding that tsunami waves are very different from the waves one usually sees at the beach.

"It's like the ocean turns into a river and starts to flow onto the land. It's not a big crashing wave like in the Hollywood movies," Ward said.

Tsunamis can be generated not only by earthquakes, but also by undersea landslides and asteroid impacts. Ward has used computer simulations to study all of these potential hazards. In 2003, for example, he and asteroid expert Erik Asphaug, an associate professor of Earth sciences, published a paper describing the tsunami that could result from an asteroid that is on course for a close encounter with Earth in the year 2880 (see Currents story: http://currents.ucsc.edu/02-03/06-02/tsunami.html).

In the aftermath of the disaster in South Asia, he has been contacted by numerous media outlets, including the Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsweek magazine, and local KION TV.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Santa Cruz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Santa Cruz. "UCSC Geophysicist Creates Computer Simulation Of Indian Ocean Tsunami." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050106092648.htm>.
University Of California, Santa Cruz. (2005, January 6). UCSC Geophysicist Creates Computer Simulation Of Indian Ocean Tsunami. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050106092648.htm
University Of California, Santa Cruz. "UCSC Geophysicist Creates Computer Simulation Of Indian Ocean Tsunami." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050106092648.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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