Modeling the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami and its impacts on Hawaii

Yoshiki Yamazaki, Volker Roeber, Kwok Fai Cheung, Thorne Lay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


The 2011 Tohoku-oki great earthquake (Mw 9.0) generated a destructive tsunami in the near field that devastated the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan. The tsunami, which reached Hawaii 7 hours after the earthquake, caused localized damage and persistent coastal oscillations across the island chain. We use the shock-capturing, dispersive wave model NEOWAVE (Non-hydrostatic Evolution of Ocean WAVEs) to reconstruct the tsunami across the Pacific and its transformation around the Hawaiian Islands. A finite-source model based on inversion of teleseismic P waves provides the detailed rupture processes for modeling of seafloor deformation and tsunami generation. The computed results are validated with surface elevations recorded at GPS and wave gauges along the East Japan coast, DART buoys across North Pacific, and tide gauge and runup measurements at Hawaii. The model results corroborate the impact and damage observed in Hawaii that might be attributed to focusing of energy by seamounts and regional and coastal resonance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOCEANS'11 - MTS/IEEE Kona, Program Book
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Print)9781457714276
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 1
EventMTS/IEEE Kona Conference, OCEANS'11 - Kona, HI, United States
Duration: 2011 Sep 192011 Sep 22

Publication series

NameOCEANS'11 - MTS/IEEE Kona, Program Book


ConferenceMTS/IEEE Kona Conference, OCEANS'11
CountryUnited States
CityKona, HI


  • Hawaii
  • The 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami
  • dispersive wave
  • inundation
  • runup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Yamazaki, Y., Roeber, V., Cheung, K. F., & Lay, T. (2011). Modeling the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami and its impacts on Hawaii. In OCEANS'11 - MTS/IEEE Kona, Program Book [6107234] (OCEANS'11 - MTS/IEEE Kona, Program Book). IEEE Computer Society.