, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 205–215 | Cite as

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

Original Article


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 



Sandra Zirnheld of the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, and Patricia Craw (Patricia Burns) of the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys assisted us with the initial field examination of the landslide in Tidal Inlet. Ernst Jakob volunteered his time and assisted with the fieldwork. Ellie Boyce and Chris Larsen of the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, worked on the GPS measurements of the landslide with Roman Motyka. Peter Dartnell, USGS, helped merge various bathymetric data sets for the hydrodynamic modeling. David Jones, USGS, prepared and improved the figures in the text. Homa Lee and Jeff Coe, USGS, are acknowledged for their review of the initial version of the paper. More recent review of the paper was improved by a journal reviewer, Doug VanDine and editor, Prof. Uldrich Hungr.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksJuneauUSA
  3. 3.BGC EngineeringVancouverCanada

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