Tsunami Travel Times (TTT)




Tsunamis are a series of long-period oceanic waves generated by underwater earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. They are among the most dangerous and complex natural hazards, and are responsible for great losses of life and extensive destruction of property in many coastal areas.

WAPMERR has launched a project to estimate possible tsunami heights worldwide, in addition to the travel time calculations already carried out in real time. The contour intervals in the figure to the left are 5 min, color change indicates 1 hour.

This method of TTT calculation is based on Huigens-Frenel principle. According to this principle, any point that was reached by a tsunami wave can be considered as a point source of secondary radiation. This allows us to divide the continuous process of the wave propagation into a number of elementary steps. During each step, the wave front moves one grid step, which allows the assumption that the wave propagates along a straight line between neighboring grid points. This makes it easy to calculate each increment of propagation time.


The wave speed is proportional to ocean depth. Therefore, uncertainties in travel time depend on the quality of bathymetry available. In our dataset, we have good bathymetric information on deep oceans, but near shore the data should be improved along most coasts.

This TTT work is performed in collaboration with Dr. A. Marchuk, Siberian Division, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk .