Anatomy of Strike Slip Fault Tsunami-genesis

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Ahmed Elbanna, Mohamed Abdelmeguid , Xiao Ma, Faisal Amlani, Harsha S. Bhat, Costas Synolakis, Ares J. Rosakis


Tsunami generation from earthquake induced seafloor deformations has long been recognized as a major hazard to coastal areas. Strike-slip faulting has generally been believed as insufficient for triggering large tsunamis, except through the generation of submarine landslides. Herein, we demonstrate that ground motions due to strike-slip earthquakes can contribute to the emergence of large tsunamis (>1m) under rather generic conditions. To this end, we have developed a computational framework that integrates models for earthquake rupture dynamics with models of tsunami generation and propagation. The three-dimensional time-dependent vertical and horizontal ground motions from spontaneous dynamic rupture models are used to drive boundary motions in the tsunami model. Our results suggest that supershear ruptures propagating along strike-slip faults, traversing narrow and shallow bays are prime candidates for tsunami generation. We show that dynamic focusing and the large horizontal displacements, characteristic of strike-slip earthquakes on long faults, are critical drivers for the tsunami hazard. These findings point to intrinsic mechanisms for sizeable tsunami generation by strike-slip faulting, which do not require complex seismic sources, landslides, or complicated bathymetry. Furthermore, our model identifies three distinct phases in the tsunamic motion; an instantaneous dynamic phase, a lagging coseismic and a classical postseismic phase, each of which may affect coastal areas differently. We conclude that near-source tsunami hazards and risk from strike-slip faulting need to be re-evaluated.



Earth Sciences, Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Physics


Tsunamigenesis in bays, Strike-slip Faults, Super-shear ruptures, Vertical and horizontal bathymetry motions


Published: 2020-12-13 19:17

Last Updated: 2023-08-16 03:45

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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