Physical modeling of tsunamis generated by three-dimensional deformable granular landslides
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Tsunamis are gravity water waves that are generated by impulsive disturbances such as submarine earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, underwater explosions or asteroid impacts. Submarine earthquakes are the primary tsunami source, but landslides may generate tsunamis exceeding tectonic tsunamis locally, in both wave and runup heights. The field data on landslide tsunami events are limited, in particular regarding submarine landslide dynamics and wave generation. Tsunamis generated by three-dimensional deformable granular landslides are physically modeled in the NEES (Network of Earthquake Engineering Simulation) 3D tsunami wave basin (TWB) at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. A novel pneumatic landslide tsunami generator is deployed to simulate natural landslide motion on a hill slope. The instrumentation consists of various underwater, above water and particle image velocimetry (PIV) cameras, numerous wave and runup gauges and a multi-transducer acoustic array (MTA). The subaerial landslide shape and kinematics on the hill slope and the surface elevation of the offshore propagating tsunami wave and runup on the hill slope are measured. The evolution of the landslide front velocity, maximum landslide thickness and width are obtained along the hill slope. The landslide surface velocity distribution is obtained from the PIV analysis of the subaerial landslide motion. The shape and the size of the submarine landslide deposit are measured with the MTA. Predictive equations are obtained for the tsunami wave amplitude, wave period and wavelength in terms of the non-dimensional landslide parameters. The generated 3D tsunami waves propagate away from the landslide source as radial wave fronts. The amplitudes of the leading tsunami waves decay away from the landslide source in radial and angular direction. The wave celerity of the leading tsunami wave may be approximated by the solitary wave speed while the trailing waves are slower due to the dispersion effects. The energy conversion rate between the landslide and the generated wave is estimated. The observed waves are weakly non-linear in nature and span from shallow water to deep water depth regime. The unique experimental data serves the validation and advancement of numerical models of tsunamis generated by landslides. The obtained predictive equations facilitate initial rapid tsunami hazard assessment and mitigation.