National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2012

Modeling of 500-year tsunamis for probabilistic design of coastal infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest

Cheung, K.F., Y. Wei, Y. Yamazaki, and S.C. Yim

Coastal Engineering, 58(10), 970–985, doi: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2011.05.003 (2011)

This paper describes the development of tsunami scenarios from the National Seismic Hazard Maps for design of coastal infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. The logic tree of Cascadia earthquakes provides four 500-year rupture configurations at moment magnitude 8.8, 9.0, and 9.2 for development of probabilistic design criteria. A planar fault model describes the rupture configurations and determines the earth surface deformation for tsunami modeling. A case study of four bridge sites at Siletz Bay, Oregon illustrates the challenges in modeling of tsunamis on the Pacific Northwest coast. A nonlinear shallow-water model with a shock-capturing scheme describes tsunami propagation across the northeastern Pacific as well as barrier beach overtopping, bore formation, and detailed flow conditions at Siletz Bay. The results show strong correlation with geological evidence from the six paleotsunamis during the last 2800 years. The proposed approach allows determination of tsunami loads that are consistent with the seismic loads currently in use for design of buildings and structures.

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