JDR Vol.7 No.5 pp. 604-608
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2012.p0604

Survey Report:

Tsunami Hydrodynamics in the Columbia River

Harry Yeh*1, Elena Tolkova*2, David Jay*3,
Stefan Talke*3, and Hermann Fritz*4

*1School of Civil & Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-3212, USA

*2Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98115-6349, USA

*3Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97207, USA

*4School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Savannah, Georgia 31407-3039, USA

May 11, 2012
June 1, 2012
October 1, 2012
tsunami, river, estuary, energy dissipation, Columbia River

On 11 March 2011, the Tohoku Tsunami overtopped a weir and penetrated 49 km up the Kitakami River, the fourth largest river in Japan [1]. Similarly, the 2010 Chile tsunami propagated at least 15 km up the Maule River [2]. In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, large tsunamis have occurred along the Cascadia subduction zone, most recently the ‘orphan tsunami’ of 1700 (Atwater et al. [3]). The expected future occurrence of a Cascadia tsunami and its penetration into the Lower Columbia River became the subject of “the Workshop on Tsunami Hydrodynamics in a Large River” held in Corvallis, Oregon, 2011. We found that tsunami penetration into the Columbia River is quite different from a typical river. The tsunami enters the vast river estuary through the relatively narrow river mouth of the Columbia, which damps and diffuses its energy. The tsunami transforms into a long period, small amplitude wave that advances to Portland, 173 km from the ocean. Understanding this unique tsunami behavior is important for preparing a forthcoming Cascadia tsunami event.

  1. [1] H. Tanaka, A. Mano, and M. Roh, Tsunami propagation into rivers, Preliminary report for the collaborative survey efforts, at Kansai University, Takatsuki, 7/16/2011.
  2. [2] H. M. Fritz, C. M. Petroff, P. Catalán, R. Cienfuegos, P. Winckler, N. Kalligeris, R. Weiss, S. E. Barrientos, G. Meneses, C. Valderas-Bermejo, C. Ebeling, A. Papadopoulos, M. Contreras, R. Almar, J. C. Dominguez, and C. E. Synolakis, “Field Survey of the 27 February 2010 Chile Tsunami,” Pure Appl. Geophys., Vol.168, No.11, pp. 1989-2010, doi:10.1007/s00024-011-0283-5, 2011.
  3. [3] B. F. Atwater, S. Musumi, K. Satake, Y. Tsuji, K. Ueda, and D. K. Yamaguchi, “The Orphan Tsunami of 1700: Japanese clues of a parent earthquake in North America,” University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington, p. 133, 2005.
  4. [4] T. Kukulka and D. A. Jay, “Impacts of Columbia River discharge on salmonid habitat: 1. A nonstationary fluvial tide model,” “J. Geophys. Res., Vol.108, No.C9, p. 3293, 2003.
  5. [5] D. A. Jay, K. Leffler, H. Diefenderfer, A. Borde, and C. McNeil, “Tidal-fluvial and estuarine processes in the Lower Columbia River: I. along-channel water level variations,” Pacific Ocean to Bonneville Dam, submitted to Coasts and Estuaries, 2011.
  6. [6] B. W Wilson and A Torum, “Runup Heights of the Major Tsunami on North American Coasts,” The great Alaska earthquake of 1964 : oceanography and coastal engineering, NAS, p. 556, 1972.
  7. [7] G. R. Priest, C. Goldfinger, K. Wang, R. C. Witter, Y. Zhang, and A. M. Baptista, “Tsunami hazard assessment of the Northern Oregon Coast: A multi-determistic approach tested at Cannon Beach, Clatsop County, Oregon,” Special Paper 41, State of Oregon, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, 2009.
  8. [8] Y. Tsuji, T. Yanuma, and I. Murata, “Tsunami ascending in rivers as an undular bore,” Natural Hazards, Vol.4, pp. 257-266, 1991.
  9. [9] H. Yasuda, “One-dimensional study on propagation of tsunami wave in river channels,” J. Hyd. Engrg., Vol.136, pp. 93-105, 2010.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, IE9,10,11, Opera.

Last updated on Sep. 19, 2017