, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1421–1434 | Cite as

The 27 April 1975 Kitimat, British Columbia, submarine landslide tsunami: a comparison of modeling approaches

  • James T. Kirby
  • Fengyan Shi
  • Dmitry Nicolsky
  • Shubhra Misra
Original Paper


We present numerical simulations of the April 27, 1975, landslide event in the northern extreme of Kitimat Arm, British Columbia. The event caused a tsunami with an estimated wave height of 8.2 m at Kitimat First Nations Settlement and 6.1 m at Clio Bay, at the northern and southern ends of Kitimat Arm, respectively. We use the nonhydrostatic model NHWAVE to perform a series of numerical experiments with different slide configurations and with two approaches to modeling the slide motion: a solid slide with motion controlled by a basal Coulomb friction and a depth-integrated numerical slide based on Newtonian viscous flow. Numerical tests show that both models are capable of reproducing observations of the event if an adequate representation of slide geometry is used. We further show that comparable results are obtained using estimates of either Coulomb friction angle or slide viscosity that are within reasonable ranges of values found in previous literature.


Landslide tsunami Coupled slide-tsunami model 



This work was partially supported by Grant CMMI-1537568 from the Engineering for Natural Hazards Program, National Science Foundation, to the University of Delaware. Kirby, Shi, and Nicolsky acknowledge the continuing support of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, NOAA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • James T. Kirby
    • 1
  • Fengyan Shi
    • 1
  • Dmitry Nicolsky
    • 2
  • Shubhra Misra
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Applied Coastal Research, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Chevron Energy Technology CompanyHoustonUSA

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