National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2012

The July 15, 2009 Fiordland, New Zealand tsunami: Real-time assessment

Uslu, B., W. Power, D. Greenslade, V. Titov, and M. Eble

Pure Appl. Geophys., 168(11), 1963–1972, doi: 10.1007/s00024-011-0281-7 (2011)

On 15 July 2009, a Mw 7.8 earthquake occurred off the New Zealand coast, which by serendipitous coincidence occurred while the International Tsunami Symposium was in session in Novosibirsk, Russia. The earthquake generated a tsunami that propagated across the Tasman Sea and was detected in New Zealand, Australia and as far away as the US West coast. Small boats close to the epicenter were placed in jeopardy, but no significant damage was observed despite a measured run-up height of 2.3 m in one of the Sounds in close proximity to the source (Wilson in GNS Science Report 46:62 2009). Peak-to-trough tsunami heights of 55 cm were measured at Southport, Tasmania and a height of 1 m was measured in Jackson Bay, New Zealand. The International Tsunami Symposium provided an ideal venue for illustration of the value of immediate real-time assessment and provided an opportunity to further validate the real time forecasting capabilities with the scientific community in attendance. A number of agencies with responsibility for tsunami forecast and/or warning, such as the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, GNS Science in New Zealand, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the European Commission Joint Research Centre were all represented at the meeting and were able to demonstrate the use of state of the art numerical models to assess the tsunami potential and provide warning as appropriate.

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