Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Tsunami propagation in large rivers : idealized cases and the Columbia River Estuary Public Deposited

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  • The hazards associated with tsunamis are well known and have been studied for decades. The majority of research is, however, focused on open coastlines which bear the brunt of a tsunamis force. Other regions that can be strongly impacted by a tsunami are large estuaries. Here, the tsunami encounters a long shallow body of water and is able to propagate much further than it would on land. Understanding the extent of tsunami propagation in rivers and the speed at which they propagate is important for the creation of timely and effective warning systems for communities along large estuaries. The present study investigates tsunami inundation and propagation up estuaries as a function of geometric shape, river discharge, and tidal state. This is accomplished by modeling tsunami wave-trains in three highly idealized estuaries, modeling a single tsunami wave-form in a local Columbia River Estuary grid, and by modeling an actual Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake in a regional Eastern North Pacific grid. Comparison of water surface elevations in the three idealized estuaries indicate that faster estuary convergence causes greater energy dissipation but focuses the remaining energy resulting in higher energy density and larger tsunami waves. Changes in river discharge proved to have a minimal impact on tsunami propagation while changes in tidal state had large impacts.
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