Observed maximum water heights from tsunamis vary by up to two orders of magnitude for a given earthquake size, presenting a challenge to emergency management. We provide a quantitative framework to investigate the influence of rupture depth and rigidity in explaining such variability. The results highlight the importance of rapid estimation of shallow slip with available geophysical data if reliable warning of local tsunamis is to be realized.
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The megathrust model and code, specifically set up for this study, are available for academic research upon request.
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We acknowledge support from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through NA19NWS4670012 (K.C., Y.Y. and L.S.) and National Science Foundation through EAR1802364 (T.L.). SOEST contribution no. 11418.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Geoscience thanks Kelin Wang and Aditya Gusman for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Primary Handling Editors: Stefan Lachowycz; Rebecca Neely.
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Cheung, K.F., Lay, T., Sun, L. et al. Tsunami size variability with rupture depth. Nat. Geosci. 15, 33–36 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-021-00869-z