Probabilistic analysis of tsunami hazards

Natural Hazards
By:  and 



Determining the likelihood of a disaster is a key component of any comprehensive hazard assessment. This is particularly true for tsunamis, even though most tsunami hazard assessments have in the past relied on scenario or deterministic type models. We discuss probabilistic tsunami hazard analysis (PTHA) from the standpoint of integrating computational methods with empirical analysis of past tsunami runup. PTHA is derived from probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA), with the main difference being that PTHA must account for far-field sources. The computational methods rely on numerical tsunami propagation models rather than empirical attenuation relationships as in PSHA in determining ground motions. Because a number of source parameters affect local tsunami runup height, PTHA can become complex and computationally intensive. Empirical analysis can function in one of two ways, depending on the length and completeness of the tsunami catalog. For site-specific studies where there is sufficient tsunami runup data available, hazard curves can primarily be derived from empirical analysis, with computational methods used to highlight deficiencies in the tsunami catalog. For region-wide analyses and sites where there are little to no tsunami data, a computationally based method such as Monte Carlo simulation is the primary method to establish tsunami hazards. Two case studies that describe how computational and empirical methods can be integrated are presented for Acapulco, Mexico (site-specific) and the U.S. Pacific Northwest coastline (region-wide analysis).
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Probabilistic analysis of tsunami hazards
Series title Natural Hazards
DOI 10.1007/s11069-005-4646-z
Volume 37
Issue 3
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Description 38 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Natural Hazards
First page 277
Last page 314
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