The origin of the tsunami excited by the earthquake - faulting or slumping

Ma Kuo-Fong Ma, K. Satake, H. Kanamori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The first arival of the tsunami recorded at Monterey, California, was about 10 min after the origin time of the earthquake. Using an elastic half space, vertical ground displacements were computed for many different fault models for the Loma Prieta earthquake and used as the initial condition for computation of the tsunami in Monterey Bay. The synthetic tsunami computed for the uniform dislocation model determined from seismic data can explain the arrival time, polarity, and amplitude of the beginning of the tsunami. However, the period of the synthetic tsunami is too long compared with the observed. If the large-scale slumping near Moss Landing suggested by an eyewitness observation occurred about 9 min after the origin time of the earthquake, it could explain the residual waveform. The most likely cause of the tsunami observed at Monterey is the combination of the vertical uplift of the sea floor due to the main faulting and a large-scale slumping near Moss Landing. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalUS Geological Survey Professional Paper
Volume1551 E
StatePublished - 1994


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