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 September 19, 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 September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) 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