Analysis of morphology, failure and post-failure stages of the Palos Verdes debris avalanche reveals that it may have triggered a significant tsunami wave. Our analysis of the failure itself indicates that the slope is stable under aseismic conditions but that a major earthquake (with a magnitude around 7) could have triggered the slide. A post-failure analysis, considering the debris avalanche as a bi-linear flow, shows that peak velocities of up to 45 m/s could have been reached and that the initial movement involved a mass of rock less than 10 km wide, 1 km long and about 50-80 m thick. Initial wave height estimates vary from 10 to 50 m. Tsunami waves propagating to the local shoreline would be significantly smaller. Such a range demonstrates our lack of proper knowledge of the transition from failure to post-failure behavior related to mass movements. Further investigations and analyses of terrestrial and submarine evidence are required for a proper hazard assessment related to tsunami generation in the Los Angeles area. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Numerical analysis of the mobility of the Palos Verdes debris avalanche, California, and its implication for the generation of tsunamis