Thursday, November 17, 2016 AGS Luncheon

"Tsunami inundation mapping for Alaska coastal communities"

Noon Luncheon 11:30-1:00 pm

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Alaska experienced numerous devastating tsunamis in its history, and the impact of the 1964 tsunami is still visible in many communities. When the next tsunami happens is only a matter of time. To mitigate this risk, tsunami hazard needs to be assessed for many coastal communities in Alaska. This goal is best achieved through scenario planning, mitigation tools and broad public education. The Alaska Earthquake Center (AEC) conducts tsunami inundation mapping for Alaska communities along several segments of the Aleutian Megathrust, each having a unique seismic history and tsunami generation potential. Accurate identification and characterization of potential tsunami sources is a critical component of our project. Alaska communities are also vulnerable to hazards related to locally generated waves, due to proximity of communities to landslide-prone fjords and frequent earthquakes. We numerically model potential tsunami waves and extent of inundation that may result from future hypothetical  earthquakes and landslides. We perform simulations for each source scenario using AEC’s numerical model of tsunami propagation and runup, which is validated through a set of analytical benchmarks and tested against laboratory and field data. Results of numerical modeling combined with historical observations are compiled on inundation maps and used for site-specific tsunami hazard assessment by emergency planners.


Speaker: Elena Suleimani, PhD, Geophysical Institute, UAF, Fairbanks

Elena Suleimani holds a B.S. Degree in Radiophysics and Electronics from the Gorky State University, Russia, a M.S. degree in Physical Oceanography from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  She has studied nonlinear dynamics of tsunami waves at the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and later numerical modeling of tsunami waves at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Elena is currently at the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks and is working on tsunami inundation mapping for Alaska coastal communities.     

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