The 2015 landslide and tsunami in Taan Fiord, Alaska

Scientific Reports
By: , and 



Glacial retreat in recent decades has exposed unstable slopes and allowed deep water to extend beneath some of those slopes. Slope failure at the terminus of Tyndall Glacier on 17 October 2015 sent 180 million tons of rock into Taan Fiord, Alaska. The resulting tsunami reached elevations as high as 193 m, one of the highest tsunami runups ever documented worldwide. Precursory deformation began decades before failure, and the event left a distinct sedimentary record, showing that geologic evidence can help understand past occurrences of similar events, and might provide forewarning. The event was detected within hours through automated seismological techniques, which also estimated the mass and direction of the slide - all of which were later confirmed by remote sensing. Our field observations provide a benchmark for modeling landslide and tsunami hazards. Inverse and forward modeling can provide the framework of a detailed understanding of the geologic and hazards implications of similar events. Our results call attention to an indirect effect of climate change that is increasing the frequency and magnitude of natural hazards near glaciated mountains.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The 2015 landslide and tsunami in Taan Fiord, Alaska
Series title Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-30475-w
Volume 8
Issue 12993
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals
Description 12 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Taan Ford
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