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Advances in Geosciences An open-access journal for refereed proceedings and special publications
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Volume 14 | Copyright
Adv. Geosci., 14, 105-116, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/adgeo-14-105-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  02 Jan 2008

02 Jan 2008

Near-source observations and modeling of the Kuril Islands tsunamis of 15 November 2006 and 13 January 2007

A. B. Rabinovich1,2, L. I. Lobkovsky1, I. V. Fine2, R. E. Thomson2, T. N. Ivelskaya3, and E. A. Kulikov1 A. B. Rabinovich et al.
  • 1Russian Academy of Sciences, P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, 36 Nakhimovsky Pr., Moscow, 117997, Russia
  • 2Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 W. Saanich Rd., Sidney, B.C., V8L 4B2, Canada
  • 3Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring, Sakhalin Tsunami Warning Center, 78 Zapadnaya Str., Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 693000, Russia

Abstract. Two major earthquakes near the Central Kuril Islands (Mw=8.3 on 15 November 2006 and Mw=8.1 on 13 January 2007) generated trans-oceanic tsunamis recorded over the entire Pacific Ocean. The strongest oscillations, exceeding several meters, occurred near the source region of the Kuril Islands. Tide gauge records for both tsunamis have been thoroughly examined and numerical models of the events have been constructed. The models of the 2006 and 2007 events include two important advancements in the simulation of seismically generated tsunamis: (a) the use of the finite failure source models by Ji (2006, 2007) which provide more detailed information than conventional models on spatial displacements in the source areas and which avoid uncertainties in source extent; and (b) the use of the three-dimensional Laplace equation to reconstruct the initial tsunami sea surface elevation (avoiding the usual shallow-water approximation). The close agreement of our simulated results with the observed tsunami waveforms at the open-ocean DART stations support the validity of this approach. Observational and model findings reveal that energy fluxes of the tsunami waves from the source areas were mainly directed southeastward toward the Hawaiian Islands, with relatively little energy propagation into the Sea of Okhotsk. A marked feature of both tsunamis was their high-frequency content, with typical wave periods ranging from 2–3 to 15–20 min. Despite certain similarities, the two tsunamis were essentially different and had opposite polarity: the leading wave of the November 2006 trans-oceanic tsunami was positive, while that for the January 2007 trans-oceanic tsunami was negative. Numerical modeling of both tsunamis indicates that, due to differences in their seismic source properties, the 2006 tsunami was more wide-spread but less focused than the 2007 tsunami.

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