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‘HANGING TEN’: MEASURING BIG WAVE INTENSITIES

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Author(s): Nancy Livingston Potter

Journal: Science of Tsunami Hazards
ISSN 8755-6839

Volume: 32;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 195;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: tsunami severity | wave intensities | tsunami magnitude | top ten tsunamis

ABSTRACT
The entire world is still feeling the effects of the devastating 2011 Honshu earthquake and tsunami. The Cascadia subduction zone, spanning over 800 miles from Vancouver Island to northern California, is soon expected to complete its 500-year quake cycle with a magnitude 8+ tsunamigenic earthquake. Much attention is being given to planning for this potential disaster and its collateral impacts from landslides, fires, hazardous material spills and infrastructure damages. The devastating impact of future tsunami events in this region and elsewhere, may result in millions of deaths and billions of dollars in damages. Over the years numerous attempts have been made to quantify tsunami severity but none of the devised scales have been completely satisfactory. The present study reviews and discusses the scales of magnitude and intensity that have been developed to describe the severity of tsunami events both qualitatively and quantitatively. Furthermore, it defines a new quantitative scaling measure of tsunami severity which is an improvement over widely reported current scales, by comparing the ‘Top Ten Lists’ of devastating tsunami as calculated by each of the scales.
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