Tsunami Simulations: Tohoku-Oki Earthquake (March 12, 2011)

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These impressive simulations of the Japan earthquake tsunami were made by Dr. Steven Ward from UC Santa Cruz.  Dr Ward uses a variety of methods to produce these simulations. All of these movies show different versions of the same calculation.  The idea is that we can use simulations like these in a predictive sense.  Once we know something about the source, in this case an earthquake, we can then run a calculation to determine where the waves are likely to strike.

In the first movie, waves propagate across the Pacific basin, and run-up heights on the shore are estimated:


Another version of the same calculation which shows the wave front: 


This movie shows the wave heights in the open ocean:


In this movie, you can see waves refracting around the Japanese islands and striking some of them on the western sides.  These refracting waves can do a considerable amount of damage in unexpected areas.


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