Descriptive model of the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami

Animated cartoon shows a 3-D representation of tsunami waveforms and how they move around islands and seafloor features.

Detailed Description

The animation shows how the July 17, 1998 tsunami might have looked from a vantage point above Papua New Guinea. The coastline shown in the animation is about 550 kilometers (340 miles) long.

The animation begins with the initial wave—which formed almost simultaneously with the earthquake that triggered the event—and shows how the initial wave was reflected from the island. Note other waves traveling east and west along the coast.

This animation does not show runup—the maximum elevation the water reached as it rose above the shoreline. Based on very preliminary data, this animation is a "descriptive model" of the tsunami. A more accurate simulation, or "quantitative model", can be developed when accurate measurements of the runup and more information about the earthquake that triggered the tsunami become available.

Please note that for display purposes, the tsunami wave heights in the animation are greatly exaggerated with respect to the bathymetry.


Image Dimensions: 431 x 281

Location Taken: PG


Eric Geist, USGS