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A Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Study of the Auckland Region, Part II: Inundation Modelling and Hazard Assessment

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Abstract

Regional source tsunamis pose a potentially devastating hazard to communities and infrastructure on the New Zealand coast. But major events are very uncommon. This dichotomy of infrequent but potentially devastating hazards makes realistic assessment of the risk challenging. Here, we describe a method to determine a probabilistic assessment of the tsunami hazard by regional source tsunamis with an “Average Recurrence Interval” of 2,500-years. The method is applied to the east Auckland region of New Zealand. From an assessment of potential regional tsunamigenic events over 100,000 years, the inundation of the Auckland region from the worst 100 events is modelled using a hydrodynamic model and probabilistic inundation depths on a 2,500-year time scale were determined. Tidal effects on the potential inundation were included by coupling the predicted wave heights with the probability density function of tidal heights at the inundation site. Results show that the more exposed northern section of the east coast and outer islands in the Hauraki Gulf face the greatest hazard from regional tsunamis in the Auckland region. Incorporating tidal effects into predictions of inundation reduced the predicted hazard compared to modelling all the tsunamis arriving at high tide giving a more accurate hazard assessment on the specified time scale. This study presents the first probabilistic analysis of dynamic modelling of tsunami inundation for the New Zealand coast and as such provides the most comprehensive assessment of tsunami inundation of the Auckland region from regional source tsunamis available to date.

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Acknowledgments

Tide gauge data were provided by Ports of Auckland Ltd. We thank Jade Arnold and Jen Dumas for preparing the inundation grids of the Auckland region. Julian Sykes prepared Fig. 7. We thank Greg Holland and Rob Bell for their support during the project planning and delivery, and Roy Walters for his continued collaboration with the RiCOM model. This study was funded by Auckland Regional Council.

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Correspondence to E. M. Lane.

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Lane, E.M., Gillibrand, P.A., Wang, X. et al. A Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Study of the Auckland Region, Part II: Inundation Modelling and Hazard Assessment. Pure Appl. Geophys. 170, 1635–1646 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-012-0538-9

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