Far-field simulation of the 1946 Aleutian tsunami

Emile A. Okal*, Hélène Hébert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We present hydrodynamic far-field simulations of the Aleutian tsunami of 1946 April 1, using both a dislocation source representing a slow earthquake and a dipolar one modelling a large landslide. The earthquake source is derived from the recent seismological study by López and Okal, while the landslide source was previously used to explain the exceptional run-up at Scotch Cap in the near field. The simulations are compared to a field data set previously compiled from testimonies of elderly witnesses at 27 far-field locations principally in the Austral and Marquesas Islands, with additional sites at Pitcairn, Easter and Juan Fernández. We find that the data set is modelled satisfactorily by the dislocation source, while the landslide fails to match the measured amplitudes, and to give a proper rendition of the physical interaction of the wavefield with the shore, in particular at Nuku Hiva, Marquesas. The emerging picture is that the event involved both a very slow earthquake, responsible for the far-field tsunami, and a major landslide explaining the near-field run-up, but with a negligible contribution in the far field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1238
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • 1946 Aleutian earthquake
  • Tsunami simulation
  • Tsunamie arthquake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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