Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2299-2312, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-2299-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Oct 2015
The effect of uncertainty in earthquake fault parameters on the maximum wave height from a tsunami propagation model
D. Burbidge1, C. Mueller2, and W. Power2 1Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia, now at GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
2GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Abstract. Over the last decade precomputed tsunami propagation model databases have been used extensively for both tsunami forecasting and hazard and risk assessment. However, the effect of uncertainty in the earthquake source parameters on the results of the simulated scenarios of tsunami propagation has not always been examined in great detail. Here we have undertaken a systematic study of the uncertainty in the maximum wave height of a tsunami (hmax) as a function of the uncertainty in the rupture parameters of the earthquake that generates it (specifically the strike, dip, rake, depth and magnitude). We have shown that even for the simple case of a tsunami propagating over flat bathymetry, the coefficient of variation (CoV) and skewness of the distribution of hmax was a complex function of the choice of rupture parameter, distance and azimuth. The relationships between these parameters and CoV became even more complex as the bathymetry used became more realistic. This has major potential implications for both how warning centres operate in the future and how the uncertainty in parameters describing the source should be incorporated into future probabilistic tsunami hazard assessments.

Citation: Burbidge, D., Mueller, C., and Power, W.: The effect of uncertainty in earthquake fault parameters on the maximum wave height from a tsunami propagation model, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 2299-2312, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-15-2299-2015, 2015.
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Short summary
This study looks at the effect on the maximum wave height of a tsunami when the parameters of the earthquake that generates it are varied. We show that this effect is a strong function of the distance and direction of the earthquake, the choice of fault parameter and the bathymetry of the ocean. The results of this study have implications for how uncertainty in an earthquake’s fault parameters is incorporated into both tsunami warnings and hazard assessments in the future.
This study looks at the effect on the maximum wave height of a tsunami when the parameters of...
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