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Near-field modeling of the 1964 Alaska tsunami: the role of splay faults and horizontal displacements
  • Elena Suleimani,
  • Jeffrey Todd Freymueller
Elena Suleimani
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jeffrey Todd Freymueller
Michigan State University
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Near-field observations of tsunami waves generated by the Mw9.2 1964 Alaska earthquake reveal a complex relationship between coseismic slip and the tsunami wavefield in the source area. The documented times and amplitudes of first arrivals, measured runup heights and inundation areas along the coasts of the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island show that secondary splay faults played an important role in generating destructive tsunami waves. We find that a splay fault extending to about 150°W is required to fit tsunami first arrivals on the Kenai Peninsula, but that the splay fault did not rupture along the entire length of the Kenai Peninsula. This extent supports the connection of splay faulting to a persistent Prince William Sound asperity. Our results also show that the contribution of coseismic horizontal displacements into the initial tsunami wave field does not change the pattern of tsunami arrivals much, but increases the amplitude. The coseismic deformation model of Suito and Freymueller (2009) explains the pattern of tsunami arrivals in the Kodiak Island region well, indicating that it provides a good estimate of slip on the megathrust in the Kodiak asperity. The sensitivity of the near-field arrival information to the coseismic slip model shows that such data are important in distinguishing between slip on splay faults and on the megathrust, and in discriminating between competing slip models.
Jul 2020Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth volume 125 issue 7. 10.1029/2020JB019620