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

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

Received:
May 11, 2012
Accepted:
June 1, 2012
Published:
October 1, 2012
Keywords:
tsunami, river, estuary, energy dissipation, Columbia River
Abstract

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.

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Last updated on Dec. 12, 2017