OSU researchers study landslide-generated tsunamis - KPTV - FOX 12

OSU researchers study landslide-generated tsunamis

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Researchers at Oregon State University are studying landslide-generated tsunamis.

Hermann Fritz, associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, says landslide-generated tsunamis are more difficult to study than earthquake-generated ones.

"It's very hard to study tsunamis in the field because typically we only catch the aftermath of destruction," says Fritz.

On Wednesday, Fritz and his team demonstrated what a landslide-generated tsunami may look like and the impact on a local island chain.

The demonstration was conducted at the O.H Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory on the OSU campus.

Using the facility's pool, Fritz loaded up a metal box with 3,000 pounds of rocks. The box was pushed into the water and a tsunami was created. The wave was on a much smaller scale, but Fritz used hundreds of sensors to track the wave's behavior.

He says the information they collect will let them create maps for specific geographical locations, such as Hawaii and Alaska. He says researchers will be able to determine the impact a tsunami will have for potential property developers.

Alicia Lyman-Holt, who works at the lab, says landslide-generated tsunamis are far less common than earthquake tsunamis.

Fritz says a wave generated by a landslide won't have as far reaching effect as one caused by an earthquake, but he says the damage can be just as powerful. He says that waves caused by the earth's mass sliding down can move faster and pack more force.


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