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New methodology for computing tsunami generation by subaerial landslides: Application to the 2015 Tyndall Glacier landslide, Alaska

June 28, 2017

Landslide-generated tsunamis pose significant hazards and involve complex, multiphase physics that are challenging to model. We present a new methodology in which our depth-averaged two-phase model D-Claw is used to seamlessly simulate all stages of landslide dynamics as well as tsunami generation, propagation, and inundation. Because the model describes the evolution of solid and fluid volume fractions, it treats both landslides and tsunamis as special cases of a more general class of phenomena. Therefore, the landslide and tsunami can be efficiently simulated as a single-layer continuum with evolving solid-grain concentrations, and with wave generation via direct longitudinal momentum transfer—a dominant physical mechanism that has not been previously addressed in this manner. To test our methodology, we used D-Claw to model a large subaerial landslide and resulting tsunami that occurred on 17 October 2015, in Taan Fjord near the terminus of Tyndall Glacier, Alaska. Modeled shoreline inundation patterns compare well with those observed in satellite imagery.