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Researchers learn from analyses of rare tsunami earthquake

Breaking Earth/Science News:

Dec 07, 2006
Analyses of a classic, slow-rupturing tsunami earthquake whose massive waves devastated the coast of Java, Indonesia, this past summer are providing insight to seismologists and engineers, who want to better understand these rare events, recommend strategies to improve safety and perhaps provide long-range forecasts of potential danger zones worldwide.

Among the surprises is data indicating that a secondary underwater movement amplified the original tsunami to create a wave run-up more than 60 feet high along more than a one-mile section of coastline. Data also raise the possibility that some regional geophysical characteristic may be making Java more vulnerable to tsunami earthquakes. Researchers from across the globe will present new analyses of seismic data, field survey information and modeling results of the July 17, 2006 tsunami earthquake at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) fall meeting in San Francisco. Andrew Newman, an assistant professor of geophysics at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Susan Bilek, an assistant professor of geophysics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology are presiding over the Dec. 11 session devoted to the July disaster. “Sharing what we’re learning will help us to better characterize tsunami earthquakes and where they occur,” Newman said. “We’ll also be able to better assess in the future when these kind of earthquakes occur whether they are likely to create tsunamis.” Photo Above: The July 2006 Java tsunami caused massive erosion on Nusa Kambanganan. Here, the beach is completely overwashed, and a monument in the background is stripped of vegetation. Along the shore, Georgia Tech researcher Hermann Fritz documents the tsunami impact along the beach.

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