Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

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| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Tsunami Earthquakes

  • J. Polet
  • H. Kanamori
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_567-3

Definition of the Subject and Its Importance

The original definition of “tsunami earthquake” was given by Kanamori (1972) as “an earthquake that produces a large size tsunami relative to the value of its surface wave magnitude (MS).” Therefore, the true damage potential that a tsunami earthquake represents may not be recognized by conventional near real-time seismic analysis methods and may only become apparent upon the arrival of the tsunami waves on the local coastline. Although tsunami earthquakes occur relatively infrequently, the effect on the local population can be devastating, as was recently illustrated by the 2010 Mw7.8 Mentawai earthquake. This event struck offshore western Indonesia, created a tsunami with 5–9 m local run-up, and caused more than 400 casualties (Newman et al. 2011).

It is important to note that the definition of “tsunami earthquake” is distinct from that of “tsunamigenic earthquake.” A tsunamigenic earthquake is any earthquake that excites a tsunami....


Subduction Zone Tsunami Wave Kurile Island Accretionary Prism Tohoku Earthquake 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Sciences DepartmentCalifornia State Polytechnic UniversityPomonaUSA
  2. 2.Seismological LaboratoryCaltechPasadenaUSA