Numerical Modeling of the June 17, 2017 Landslide and Tsunami Events in Karrat Fjord, West Greenland

Alexandre Paris*, Emile A. Okal, Cyrielle Guérin, Philippe Heinrich, François Schindelé, Hélène Hébert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


On June 17 2017, the western coast of Greenland was the site of a tsunami which flooded several villages, killing 4 people and destroying 11 houses in the village of Nuugaatsiaq. This tsunami was triggered by a subaerial landslide which occurred in a fjord 32 km ENE of Nuugaatsiaq. This paper presents the numerical modeling of this landslide of ∼ 50 million m 3 and of the tsunami propagation from its source to Nuugaatsiaq. The landslide is considered as a granular flow under gravity forces and the water waves generated are related to the displacement of the sea bottom. The results obtained are similar in amplitude to our inferences from videos, i.e., three water waves between 1 and 1.5 m arriving at Nuugaatsiaq with a period of roughly 3 min, and are also in general agreement with the amplitude (1 m) resulting from deconvolution of oscillations recorded on a horizontal seismogram operating at Nuugaatsiaq (NUUG). According to the field survey performed by Fritz et al. (EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, Vol. 20 of EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, p 18345, 2018a) on July 2017, a second mass next to the landslide is threatening Karrat Fjord. A sensitivity study is realized on its volume, with 2, 7, 14 and 38 million m 3 reaching the sea. The shape of the water waves is found to be independent of volume, and linearity is observed between the volume and the water wave heights. Finally, the orientation of the slide does not seem to influence either the period or the shape of the generated water waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3035-3057
Number of pages23
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Greenland
  • Tsunami
  • landslide
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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