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Lake Tsunamis: Causes, Controls, and Hazard

Applicant Anselmetti Flavio S.
Number 171017
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.04.2017 - 31.03.2021
Approved amount 2'000'862.00
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All Disciplines (5)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
Fluid Dynamics
Geophysics
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences
Geology

Keywords (8)

Tsunami; Wave modeling; Tsunami deposit; Hazard assessment; Earthquakes; Slope stability; Delta sedimentation; Site response

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die durch die grossen Beben in Sumatra-Andamanen (2004) und Tohoku (2011) ausgelösten Tsunamiwellen machten diese zerstörerische Naturgewalt berühmt und berüchtigt. Was aber weniger bekannt ist: Tsunamis können auch auf Seen auftreten und ähnliche Wellenhöhen wie die marinen Beispiele erreichen. Dieses Sinergia Projekt untersucht die Voraussetzungen, Auslösemechanismen, Prozesse und Auswirkungen dieser Seetsunamis und trägt so zu einer verbesserten Gefahrenabschätzung auch in der Schweiz bei.
Lay summary

Verschiedene historische Quellen bezeugen das Auftreten von Tsunamiwellen in der Schweiz: So querte eine Tsunamiwelle im Jahre 563 den Genfersee, erreichte in Lausanne eine Höhe von 13 m und zerstörte die Brücke in Genf. Im Jahre 1601 trat auf dem Vierwaldstättersee eine 4-5 m hohe Welle auf, die mehrere Menschenleben forderte. Diese und weitere Beispiele zeigen deutlich, dass Tsunamis nicht nur im Meer auftreten, sondern auch in Seen eine Naturgefahr darstellen. Währendem die meisten der marinen Tsunamis durch sich bewegende Erdplatten bei einem Beben ausgelöst werden, werden Seetsunamis vor allem durch die Wasserverdrängung von unterseeischen Hangrutschungen und seerandlichen Bergstürzen ausgelöst. Das Ziel dieses Projektes ist es, die Tsunami-relevanten Prozesse in Seen besser zu verstehen, um schliesslich auch eine bessere Gefahrenabschätzung durchzuführen. Die Ergebnisse werden auch neue Erkenntnisse liefern, die in den Ozeanen angewandt werden können.

 Verschiedene Teilprojekte sind geplant, welche in den Seesystemen der Schweiz i) die Hanginstabilitäten geotechnisch unter dem Einfluss von Erdbeben charakterisieren, ii) die diesbezüglichen Eigenheiten der Hänge vor den grossen Flussmündungen quantifizieren, iii) die Rutschungsmechanik und die damit zusammenhängende Tsunamientstehung und -ausbreitung durch numerische und hydraulische Modelle simulieren, iv) die Spuren vergangener Tsunamis in den Sedimentarchiven der Schweizer Seeküsten identifizieren und datieren und v) alle Erkenntnisse in einem holistischen Rahmen zu einer Naturgefahrenanalyse verbinden werden.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 24.01.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
SUBMARINE MASS FAILURE: WAVE GENERATION BY GRANULAR SLIDES
Evers Frederic M., Fuchs Helge, Vetsch David, Boes Robert M. (2018), SUBMARINE MASS FAILURE: WAVE GENERATION BY GRANULAR SLIDES, in Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(36), 47-47.
A generalized theory for full microtremor horizontal-to-vertical [H/V (z, f)] spectral ratio interpretation in offshore and onshore environments
LontsiA., Garcia-JerezA., VillegasJ.C.M., Sánchez-SesmaF.J., MolkenthinC., OhrnbergerM., KrügerF., WangR., FaehD., A generalized theory for full microtremor horizontal-to-vertical [H/V (z, f)] spectral ratio interpretation in offshore and onshore environments, in Geophysical Journal International.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr Valentin Heller Dr. sc., Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nottingham Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
ISTerre University Joseph Fourier Grenoble France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Innsbruck, Sedimentology Group Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
GeoForschungszentrum Potsdam Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
A. Puzrin/A. Stöcklin; IGT ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Global Earthquake Model Foundation, Pavia Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Geophysical Union Meeting Poster Michael Strupler: A conceptual approach for the rapid screening of the tsunami hazard in Swiss lakes 01.05.2019 Vienna, Austria Anselmetti Flavio S.;
European Geophysical Union Meeting Poster A multidisciplinary approach to assess the causes, consequences and hazard of tsunamis in Swiss lakes 01.05.2019 Vienna, Austria Kremer Katrina;
6th International Colloquium Historical Earthquakes, Paleoseismology, Neotectonics and Seismic Hazard Poster Causes and hazard of lake tsunamis: a multi-disciplinary approach from Swiss Lakes 01.05.2019 Hans-Sur-Lesse, Belgium Kremer Katrina;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Causes and hazard of lake tsunamis: a multidisciplinary approach from Swiss Lakes 01.05.2019 Bern, Switzerland Kremer Katrina;
Workshop on recent advanced techniques for site characterization Talk given at a conference H/V inversion demonstration on two case studies 09.03.2019 Aquila, Italy Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
Workshop on recent advanced techniques for site characterization Talk given at a conference Microtremor horizontal-to-vetical spectral: Beyond f_{peak} - A full waveform approach 09.03.2019 Aquila, Italy Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
SwissSed Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Nearshore sediment stratigraphy from Lake Sils, Engadin: insights to lake-level fluctuations and tsunamogenic sublacustrine mass-movement process 23.02.2019 Fribourg, Switzerland Nigg Valentin;
Institute's colloquium, Institute of Geology, Universite de Strasbourg Individual talk Assessing earthquake and tsunami hazards in the Alps: Clues from subaquatic mass movements 28.01.2019 Strasourg, France, France Anselmetti Flavio S.;
Department's Colloquium University of South Florida, College of Marine Sciences Individual talk Tsunamis on Alpine lakes: an underestimated hazard 15.01.2019 St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, United States of America Anselmetti Flavio S.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference A generalized theory for full microtremor H/V (z, f ) spectral ratio interpretation in offshore and onshore environments 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Geotechnical and Seismological Studies to Assess Slope Stability in Lake Lucerne 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Shynkarenko Anastasiia;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Identification and characterization of lake-tsunami deposits in Switzerland 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Nigg Valentin;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Michael Strupler: A first step towards an extensive estimation of the tsunami hazard in Swiss lakes 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Anselmetti Flavio S.;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Poster Subaqueous Mass Failure: Hydraulic Lab Experiments 01.12.2018 Bern, Switzerland Evers Frederic Martin;
AG Seismologie Talk given at a conference A generalized theory for full microtremor H/V (z, f) spectral ratio interpretation in offshore and onshore environments 26.09.2018 Pirna, Germany Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
Central European Geomorphology & Quaternary Conference Proceedings Talk given at a conference Keynote lecture: Subaquatic geomorphology of perialpine lakes: Exploring a hidden frontier 25.09.2018 Giessen, Germany Anselmetti Flavio S.;
36th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission Talk given at a conference Initial results of a synergetic geotechnical and seismological study to assess slope stability in Lake Lucerne 06.09.2018 Vaelletta, Malta Shynkarenko Anastasiia;
36th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission Talk given at a conference A generalized theory for full microtremor H/V (z, f) spectral ratio interpretation in offshore and onshore environments 03.09.2018 Valletta, Malta Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
International Sedimentological Congress Poster Searching onshore tsunami deposits in Switzerland 17.08.2018 Quebec, Canada Nigg Valentin;
European Geophysical Union Poster Tsunami deposits surrounding perialpine lakes in Switzerland 11.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Nigg Valentin;
European Geophysical Union Meeting Poster In situ characterization of sediment-mechanical parameters of failure-prone slope sediments of Lake Lucerne, Central Switzerland 11.04.2018 Vienna, Austria Stegmann Sylvia;
CH-QUAT Annual Meeting Poster Towards tsunami hazard assessment at Lake Lucerne using seismological and geotechnical tools 17.03.2018 Bern, Switzerland Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
CH-QUAT Annual Meeting Poster Tsunamis in lakes: an underrated natural hazard? 17.03.2018 Bern, Switzerland Nigg Valentin;
Swiss Geoscience Meeting Davos Poster Tsunami deposits in coastal areas surrounding perialpine lakes in Switzerland 18.12.2017 Davos, Switzerland Nigg Valentin;
Earth and Environmental Sciences Graduate Research Symposium ETH Poster Towards tsunami assessment at lake Lucerne using seismological and geotechnical data 05.10.2017 Zurich, Switzerland Lontsi Agostiny Marrios;
5th ITFS Poster Tsunami deposits in coastal areas surrounding perialpine lakes in Switzerland 04.06.2017 Lisbon, Portugal Nigg Valentin;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Tecnight: Tsunamis in der Schweiz: Eine unterschätzte Naturgefahr Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 15.11.2018 Kantonsschule Frauenfeld, Switzerland Anselmetti Flavio S.;
Tecday: Tsunamigefahr am Vierwaldstättersee! Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 25.04.2018 Kantonsschule Alpenquai, Luzern, Switzerland Anselmetti Flavio S.;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film ARTE/RTS: Un tsunami sur le Léman International 2018
Media relations: radio, television Der Tsunamigefahr in der Schweiz und ihren Auslösern auf der Spur 86 medias (newspaper, TV (SRF, SRF), Radio) German-speaking Switzerland International Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Schweizer Großprojekt Wie groß ist die Gefahr durch Alpensee-Tsunamis? Spiegel Online International 2018

Awards

Title Year
2018 JMSE Travel Award, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
177586 4D seismic response and slope failure 01.09.2018 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

This Sinergia proposal aims at unraveling the trigger mechanisms, preconditions, processes and impacts of lake tsunamis, a so far underexplored natural hazard. General tsunami research has traditionally focused on the large ocean megatsunamis, however, historic chronicles document clearly that waves of similar heights also occur on lakes potentially causing widespread coastal damage and even casualties. With a detailed historic database and its extensive previous limnogeologic and paleoseismic research, Central Switzerland offers an outstanding field laboratory to assess the relevant lake-tsunami processes. Results are anticipated to be applicable to other lake districts, and as added bonus, the gained knowledge of underlying processes will contribute to a better general understanding of mass-movement induced tsunami waves in the marine realm.The goals of this project are to understand governing mechanisms of genesis and propagation of tsunamis in lakes by using these continental basins as analogues for their larger marine counterparts. Through a multidisciplinary approach involving limnogeologists, seismologists, geotechnical specialists, hydraulic engineers and hazard specialists from three Swiss and one German research groups, we will develop the key concepts and factors relevant for causes and controls of these tsunamis. Extensive field surveys and field tests using state-of-the-art and newly developed instruments (e.g. ocean bottom seismometers; cone penetration test devices) will investigate how geotechnical, sedimentological and pore-pressure related variability react to dynamic seismic loading and eventually define development of weak layers so that stratigraphic slope-sediment successions fail. The available and to-be-developed instruments stem from a cooperation with a research group from one of the leading German marine technologic research centers (Marum, Bremen). Previous studies in lakes documented a highly variable distribution of susceptibility of lake slopes towards failure. This project will quantify the threshold conditions on lateral lake slopes, which usually fail coseismically. In addition, we also include and discern delta slopes, which are known to have failed spontaneously, likely induced by rapid loading of river-derived particles or redistributing sediment flows. Transient bathymetry of modern delta sedimentation will be surveyed in quasi-4D in order to quantify how delta slopes recharge eventually causing overloading.All knowledge gained on slope instabilities will be used as input parameters into numerical models of tsunami-wave propagation and inundation. Existing numeric codes will be modified and improved to better simulate wave propagation in these confined deep basins. Moreover, hydraulic models in the laboratory will yield novel insights into wave development and controls. Combining numeric and hydraulic models by iterative comparison of the results will form a highly innovative approach. Data obtained in the various work packages will be compared and validated by the analysis of coastal tsunami layers that were deposited in near-shore depressions. New lake-sediment-tailored methodologies will be developed to identify these tsunami deposits, eventually leading to a tsunami-event stratigraphy of the postglacial epoch (~15'000 yrs). All results will eventually be fed into the development of the first holistic framework for probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment. The results from process understanding, different modeling methods and data developed in the project will provide the baseline for assessing the risks for people, lifelines and structures along lakeshores and coasts. This process will define the needs and benefits of potential mitigation strategies.
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