The recent work of Georgia Tech Savannah’s Dr. Hermann Fritz has been published in the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Activity Highlights 2010 – 2011. Fritz’s article, entitled “Characterizing the Impact of Landslide-Generated Tsunamis”, was produced in joint cooperation with Zygmunt Kowalik (University of Fairbanks) and James Beget (University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Dr. Fritz’s contribution is one of 28 different highlights published and is based on his National Science Foundation NEESR core research award for “Tsunami Generation by Landslides: Integrating Laboratory Scale Experiments, Numerical Models and Natural Scale Applications." All contributors incorporated NEES equipments sites and field stations into their research efforts.
The study shares data regarding the the lifecycle of a tsunami, from start to finish. However, the premise of their experimentation rests on the idea that tsunamis produced by volcanic eruptions and landslides behave differently than earthquake-generated tsunamis; with the focus shifting to landslide-generated tsunamis because they have historically produced some of the most catastrophic consequences. In approaching the simulation, the research team employed a piece of experimental equipment at the NEES Tsunami Wave Basin located at Oregon State University to obtain their data. The tsunami simulation was induced by over 3,000 lbs of gravel being slid into a tsunami wave basin, allowing for invaluable eye-witness accounts of landslide deformation. According to the article, these measurements are key in “improving existing computer models that are used to predict the characteristics of tsunamis for the purposes of mitigating their impacts on society."
The NEES organization is a network of researchers, educators, and students devoted to projects yielding new discoveries in earthquake engineering and advances in seismic activity.
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