A theoretical comparison of tsunamis from dislocations and landslides

Emile A. Okal*, Costas E. Synolakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We use simple physical models to evaluate and compare the orders of magnitude of the energy generated into a tsunami wave by seismic dislocations and underwater slumps. We conclude that the two sources can generate tsunamis of comparable total energy. However, the slumping source is shown to be fundamentally dipolar in nature, which results in a low-frequency deficiency in the far-field. These simple conclusions corroborate the interpretation of the 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami as being generated by an underwater slump.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2177-2188
Number of pages12
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number10-11
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Landslides
  • Seismic sources
  • Tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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