The large Greenland landslide of 2017: Was a Tsunami warning possible?

Wei An Chao, Tso Ren Wu, Kuo Fong Ma, Yu Ting Kuo, Yih Min Wu, Li Zhao, Meng Ju Chung, Han Wu, Yu Lin Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Tsunamis generated by mass movements such as landslides, underwater slumps, and rock avalanches can lead to serious inundation of nearby populated areas. The lack of timely estimations of the moving mass volume, however, makes providing operational early warnings for landslides particularly challenging. In June 2017, a large landslide in Greenland generated tsunami waves of about 1 m high that impacted the small town of Nuugaatsiaq. We show how the seismic analysis of real-time seismic records from the Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN) can provide estimates of essential physical properties of the landslide such as collapse mass and sliding velocity shortly after origin time. The estimation of the landslide source parameters can be utilized for tsunamiwave simulations. We demonstrate how the real-time integration of seismic waveform inversion with forward tsunami-wave simulation could have enabled a timely operational warning (about 10 min) before the arrival of the impending tsunami waves at the village of Nuugaatsiaq.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1344
Number of pages10
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


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