Original Article


, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 205-215

First online:

Hazard assessment of the Tidal Inlet landslide and potential subsequent tsunami, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

  • Gerald F. WieczorekAffiliated withUS Geological Survey Email author 
  • , Eric L. GeistAffiliated withUS Geological Survey
  • , Roman J. MotykaAffiliated withGeophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks Email author 
  • , Matthias JakobAffiliated withBGC Engineering

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An unstable rock slump, estimated at 5 to 10 × 106 m3, lies perched above the northern shore of Tidal Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. This landslide mass has the potential to rapidly move into Tidal Inlet and generate large, long-period-impulse tsunami waves. Field and photographic examination revealed that the landslide moved between 1892 and 1919 after the retreat of the Little Ice Age glaciers from Tidal Inlet in 1890. Global positioning system measurements over a 2-year period show that the perched mass is presently moving at 3–4 cm annually indicating the landslide remains unstable. Numerical simulations of landslide-generated waves suggest that in the western arm of Glacier Bay, wave amplitudes would be greatest near the mouth of Tidal Inlet and slightly decrease with water depth according to Green’s law. As a function of time, wave amplitude would be greatest within approximately 40 min of the landslide entering water, with significant wave activity continuing for potentially several hours.


Tidal Inlet Glacier Bay National Park Rock slump Glaciation Rotational landslide Tsunami Seismicity GPS data