Joy Pauschke CMMI Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation
ENG Directorate for Engineering
October 1, 2004
September 30, 2008 (Estimated)
Awarded Amount to Date:
Hermann Fritz email@example.com (Principal Investigator)
Leonid Germanovich (Co-Principal Investigator) Alexander Puzrin (Co-Principal Investigator)
Georgia Tech Research Corporation
Office of Sponsored Programs
Program Reference Code(s):
1057, 1576, CVIS
Program Element Code(s):
Tsunamis can be generated directly by seismic impact. However, in some seismic events tsunamis have
been observed to be triggered by the massive failure of the sea floor in the form of giant submarine
landslides. According to the National Geophysical Data Center and World Data Center for Solid Earth
Geophysics as well as Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, in the Pacific Ocean alone, 65
tsunami events attributed to submarine landslide caused a total number of 14,661 deaths.
Our ultimate long-term goal is to develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanism of
tsunamigenic landslides and subsequent tsunami generation, propagation, and run-up, which would allow
for improved assessment and possible mitigation of the landslide and tsunami hazard. Unfortunately, the
field data from real world observations are limited to very few cases, while the most important part of this
data related to the tsunami generation stage is almost completely missing. The goal of the proposed
research is to compensate for this lack of data by the physical modeling of 3-dimensional tsunami
evolution using a novel landslide tsunami generator which will complement the existing NEES tsunami
facilities. Towards this goal, the following subset of objectives will be achieved in the proposed research:
Objective 1. Model Similitude: The governing model similitude, defining the design parameters for the
proposed landslide tsunami generator, will be determined using dimensional analysis.
Objective 2. A Novel Landslide Tsunami Generator: The proposed novel computer controlled
pneumatic landslide acceleration mechanism, will enable individual control of the dynamic landslide
parameters such as landslide location, geometry and acceleration.
Objective 3. Landslide Parameters: To design of the experimental program we propose to determine
the geometries and velocities of tsunamigenic landslides from the case histories. However, in order to
cover the whole range of possible parameter combinations we are planning to use the novel analytical and
numerical models of the shear-band propagation mechanisms of tsunamigenic landslides.
Objective 4. Experimental Program: In the proposed experiments we shall measure the characteristics
of the subaqueous landslide motion and the near-field tsunami generation, propagation and run-up in three
dimensions. In addition the resulting landslide deposits will be mapped and their thickness recorded.
Objective 5. Validation of the Proposed Mechanisms: The measured landslide and tsunami
characteristics will be compared to the existing real world observations providing a validation for
physical, analytical and numerical models used in this research. This will justify the use of these models
in the development of fundamental understanding of the coupled landslide and tsunami mechanisms and
allow us to develop recommendations for the future experimental and theoretical research.
Expected Intellectual Merit of the Research: The proposed research will advance knowledge and
understanding of landslide generated tsunamis . one of the most devastating natural hazards. Originality
of the proposed work is based on its interdisciplinary nature, which combines experimental and
theoretical Fluid, Soil and Fracture Mechanics approaches. The project is a joint effort between three
Georgia Tech faculty members who combine expertise in fluid mechanics, physical modeling and tsunami
hazards, soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, rock and fracture mechanics.
Expected Broader Impact of the Research: Understanding of landslide and tsunami mechanisms has
broad implications not only to engineering but also to human endeavors. It will enhance both assessment
and mitigation of tsunami and landslide hazards. The novel landslide generator developed in this research
will complement existing NEES tsunami facilities both in the present and future studies. The funds
provided from this proposal will be used to educate and support two graduate students. The results of this
research will be incorporated into existing undergraduate and graduate level courses, and a new graduate
course on Natural Hazards will be jointly developed by PIs. The results will be disseminated to a broad
scientific and engineering audience through publications in high-impact professional journals and via
presentations at national and international meetings. K12 audience will be reached by popular lectures
and Internet postings emphasizing the important role of Civil Engineering profession in mitigation of
PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH
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