Resonance and impact of the 2009 Samoa tsunami around Tutuila, American Samoa

Volker Roeber, Yoshiki Yamazaki, Kwok Fai Cheung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    The 2009 Samoa tsunami resulted in severe damage and inundation at Tutuila, American Samoa. The disparity of the impact and the varying accounts of the tsunami along the coast remain one of the most intriguing aspects of the event. We utilize a dispersive wave model to reconstruct the tsunami from the earthquake source for understanding of the wave dynamics around Tutuila. After validation with water-level measurements, a Fast Fourier Transform of the computed surface elevation reveals coupled resonance oscillations between 3 and 18 min period over the insular slope and shelf as well as the fringing reefs. The resonance, which focuses energy according to shelf and embayment configurations, provides an explanation of the runup data and eyewitness accounts and identifies the coastal communities prone to tsunami hazards.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL21604
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number21
    Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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