Natural Hazards

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 319–331 | Cite as

Assessing the threat to Western Australia from tsunami generated by earthquakes along the Sunda Arc

Original Paper


A suite of tsunami spaced evenly along the subduction zone to the south of Indonesia (the Sunda Arc) were numerically modelled in order to make a preliminary estimate of the level of threat faced by Western Australia from tsunami generated along the Arc. Offshore wave heights from these tsunami were predicted to be significantly higher along the northern part of the west Australian coast than for the rest of the coast south of the town of Exmouth. In particular, the area around Exmouth may face a higher tsunami hazard than other areas of the West Australian coast nearby. Large earthquakes offshore of Java and Sumbawa are likely to be a greater hazard to WA than those offshore of Sumatra. Our numerical models indicate that a magnitude 9 or above earthquake along the eastern part of the Sunda Arc has the potential to significantly impact a large part of the West Australian coastline.


Tsunami deterministic hazard assessment Western Australia Sunda Arc subduction zone Tsunami numerical propagation model Subduction zone earthquakes 


  1. Beck ME Jr (1983) On the mechanism of tectonic transport in zones of oblique subduction. Tectonophysics 93:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bird P (2003) An updated digital model of plate boundaries. Geochem Geophys Geosys 4:1027, doi:10.1029/2001GC000252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bird P, Kagan YY (2004) Plate-tectonic analysis of shallow seismicity: apparent boundary width, beta, corner magnitude, coupled lithosphere thickness, and coupling in seven tectonic settings. Bull Seism Soc Am 94:2380–2399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bock Y, Prawirodirdjo L, Genrich JF, Stevens CW, McCaffrey R, Subarya C, Puntodewo SSO, Calais E (2003) Crustal motion in Indonesia from Global Positioning System measurements. J Geophys Res 108:2367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burbidge DR, Braun J (1998) Analogue models of obliquely convergent plate boundaries. J Geophys Res 103(B7):15221–15237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dominey-Howes D, Cummins PR, Burbidge DR (2006) Historical records of teletsunami in the Indian Ocean and insights from numerical modelling. Nat Hazards, doi: 10.1007/s11069–006–9042–9Google Scholar
  7. Estridge HW (1883) The recent phenomena. Extract from The Merchantile Record and Commercial Gazette, 5th October, 1883, Item No. XLIV (see File 2.14, vol XVII, Seychelles National Archives)Google Scholar
  8. Geist EL, Parsons T (2006) Probabilistic analysis of tsunami hazards. Nat Hazards 37:277–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gregson PJ, Paull EP, Gaull BA (1979) The effects in Western Australia of a major earthquake in Indonesia on 19 August 1977. BMR J Aust Geol Geophys 4:135–140Google Scholar
  10. Gregson PJ, van Reeken LA (1998) Tsunami observations in Western Australia. In Woodroffe CD (ed) Maritime natural hazards in the Indian Ocean, Wollongong papers on maritime policy No. 6. University of Wollongong, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  11. Gusiakov VK (1972) Static displacement on the surface of an elastic space. Ill-posed problems of mathematical physics and interpretation of geophysical data, Novosibirsk, VC SOAN SSSR, 23–51 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  12. Hyndman RD, Wang K (1993) Thermal constraints on the zone of major thrust earthquake failure: the Cascadia subduction zone. J Geophys Res 98:2039–2060Google Scholar
  13. Jackson LE, Barrie JV, Forbes DL, Shaw J, Manson GK, Schmidt M (2005) Effects of the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in the Republic of the Seychelles. GSC open file report 4935, p 15Google Scholar
  14. Lay T, Kanamori H, Ammon CJ, Nettles M, Ward SN, Aster RC, Beck SL, Bilek SL, Brudzinski MR, Butler R, DeShon HR, Ekstrom G, Satake K, Sipkin S (2005) The Great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004. Science 308:1127–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McCloskey J, Nalbant SS, Steacy S (2005) Earthquake risk from co-seismic stress. Nature 434:291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Natawidjaja DH, Sieh K, Chlieh M, Galetzka J, Surwargadi BW, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Avouac J-P, Ward SN (2006) Source parameters of the great Sumatran megathrust earthquakes of 1797 and 1833 inferred from coral micoatolls. J Geophys Res 111:B06403, doi:10.1029/2005JB004025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Newcomb KR, McCann WR (1987) Seismic history and seismotectonics of the Sunda Arc. J Geophys Res 92:421–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nishenko SP (1991) Circum-Pacific seismic potential: 1989–1999. Pure Appl Geophys 135:169–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oleskevich DA, Hyndman RD, Wang K (1999) The up-dip and down-dip limits to great subduction zone earthquakes: Thermal and structural models of Cascadia, South Alaska, SW Japan, and Chile. J Geophys Res 104:14965–14991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pacheco JF, Sykes LR, Scholz CH (1993) Nature of seismic coupling along simple plate boundaries of the subduction type. J Geophys Res 98:14133–14159Google Scholar
  21. Ruff L, Kanamori H (1980) Seismicity and the subduction process. Phys Earth Planet Int 23:240–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Satake K, Yoshida Y, Abe K (1992) Tsunami from the Mariana earthquake of April 5, 1990: its abnormal propagation and implications to tsunami potential from outer-rise earthquakes. Geophys Res Lett 19:301–304Google Scholar
  23. Stein S, Okal EE (2005) Speed and size of the Sumatra earthquake. Nature 434:581–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Titov VV, Gonzalez FI (1997) Implementation and testing of the Method of Splitting Tsunami (MOST) model. NOAA Tech. Memo. ERL PMEL-112 (PB98–122773). NOAAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, WAGoogle Scholar
  25. Zachariasen M, Sieh K, Taylor FW, Edwards RL, Hantoro WS (1999) Submergence and uplift associated with the giant 1833 Sumatran subduction earthquake: evidence from coral microatolls. J Geophys Res 104:895–919CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards Project, Risk Research GroupGeoscience AustraliaCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations