Tsunami generation and propagation mechanisms need to be clearly understood in order to inform predictive models and improve coastal community preparedness. Physical experiments, supported by mathematical models, can potentially provide valuable input data for standard predictive models of tsunami generation and propagation. A unique experimental set-up has been developed to reproduce a coupled-source tsunami generation mechanism: a two-dimensional underwater fault rupture followed by a submarine landslide. The test rig was located in a 20 m flume in the COAST laboratory at the University of Plymouth. The aim of the experiments is to provide quality data for developing a parametrisation of the initial conditions for tsunami generation processes which are triggered by a dual-source. During the test programme, the water depth and the landslide density were varied. The position of the landslide model was tracked and the free surface elevation of the water body was measured. Hence the generated wave characteristics were determined. For a coupled-source scenario, the generated wave is crest led, followed by a trough of smaller amplitude decreasing steadily as it propagates along the flume. The crest amplitude was shown to be influenced by the fault rupture displacement scale, whereas the trough was influenced by the landslide’s relative density.



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Journal of Marine Science and Engineering

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School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics


Tsunami generation, Submarine landslide, Fault rupture, Physical modelling, Coupled-source