Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 170, Issue 1–2, pp 109–127 | Cite as

FDM Simulation of Seismic Waves, Ocean Acoustic Waves, and Tsunamis Based on Tsunami-Coupled Equations of Motion



We have developed a new, unified modeling technique for the total simulation of seismic waves, ocean acoustic waves, and tsunamis resulting from earthquakes, based on a finite difference method simulation of the 3D equations of motion. Using the equilibrium between the pressure gradient and gravity in these equations, tsunami propagation is naturally incorporated in the simulation based on the equations of motion. The performance of the parallel computation for the newly developed tsunami-coupled equations using a domain partitioning procedure shows a high efficiency coefficient with a large number of CPU cores. The simulation results show how the near-field term associated with seismic waves produced by shallow earthquakes leads to a permanent coseismic deformation of the ground surface, which gives rise to the initial tsunami on the sea surface. Propagation of the tsunami along the sea surface as a gravity wave, and ocean acoustic waves in seawater with high-frequency multiple P-wave reflections between the free surface and sea bottom, are also clearly demonstrated by the present simulations. We find a good agreement in the tsunami waveform between our results and those obtained by other simulations based on an analytical model and the Navier–Stokes equations, demonstrating the effectiveness of the tsunami-coupling simulation model. Based on this simulation, we show that the ratio of the amplitude of ocean acoustic waves to the height of the tsunami, both of which are produced by the earthquake, strongly depends on the rise time of the earthquake rupture. This ratio can be used to obtain a more detailed understanding of the source rupture processes of subduction zone earthquakes, and for implementing an improved tsunami alert system for slow tsunami earthquakes.


Dynamic coupling finite difference method numerical simulation parallel computing seismic wave tsunami ocean acoustic wave 


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© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Integrated Disaster Information Research, Interfaculty Initiative in Information StudiesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Earthquake Research InstituteThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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