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Tsunami 2004 simulation - Off the coast of Sumatra (update)

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Published on Nov 21, 2012

This is a simulation of the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on 26th December 2004 resulting from a magnitude 9.3 earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra. The tsunami travels at great speed and reaches Sri Lanka in approximately just under two hours.

The simulation was performed in 2D, using a 5th Order WENO scheme to solve the shallow water equations, and covers approximately the area on the globe between points:

Lat: 27N - Lon: 72E (UTM: X = 2989976.0, Y = 202273.4) Region 43R,
Lat: 5S - Lon: 104E (UTM: X = 9447251.0, Y = 389140.1) Region 48M.

The spatial domain (approx. 3500x3500 km) was divided into 250000 rectangular cells. The model was based on land topographic and sea bathymetric data obtained from the NDGC. The tsunami travels at great speed and reaches Sri Lanka in approx just under two hours. Wave speeds were calculated for each cell based on the celerity relationship √(gh(x,y)) at each point in the spatial domain and Coriolis effects were included. The non-circular wave-fronts are clearly visible, which indicates curved rays.

The earthquake was due to a 1200km long subduction rupture zone at around 5100m depth in the deepest part of the Java Trench. The subduction consisted of four segments, of lengths 220km, 410km, 300km and 350km respectively. The segments were modelled using physical data as reported by Watts, et al, WAVES, 2005.

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