Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 173, Issue 12, pp 4039–4054

Tsunami Bores in Kitakami River


DOI: 10.1007/s00024-016-1351-7

Cite this article as:
Tolkova, E. & Tanaka, H. Pure Appl. Geophys. (2016) 173: 4039. doi:10.1007/s00024-016-1351-7


The 2011 Tohoku tsunami entered the Kitakami river and propagated there as a train of shock waves, recorded with a 1-min interval at water level stations at Fukuchi, Iino, and the weir 17.2 km from the mouth, where the bulk of the wave was reflected back. The records showed that each bore kept its shape and identity as it traveled a 10.9-km-path Fukuchi–Iino–weir–Iino. Shock handling based on the cross-river integrated classical shock conditions was applied to reconstruct the flow velocity time histories at the measurement sites, to estimate inflow into the river at each site, to evaluate the wave heights of incident and reflected tsunami bores near the weir, and to estimate propagation speed of the individual bores. Theoretical predictions are verified against the measurements. We discuss experiences of exercising the shock conditions with actual tsunami measurements in the Kitakami river, and test applicability of the shallow-water approximation for describing tsunami bores with heights ranging from 0.3 to 4 m in a river segment with a depth of 3–4 m.


Tohoku tsunami 2011 shock wave shock conditions bore undular bore Kitakami River 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NorthWest Research AssociatesBellevueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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