Author(s): Xiaoming Wang; Philip L.-F. Liu
Keywords: Sumatra earthquake; Indian Ocean tsunamis; fault plane model; optimization; satellite measurements
Abstract: The 2004 Sumatra earthquake and the associated tsunamis are one of the most devastating natural disasters in the last century. Several fault plane models have been suggested to represent the rupture mechanism of the earthquake. During this tsunami event, two satellites flew over Bay of Bengal and provided measurements for sea surface elevation with accuracy better than 4.2 cm. The satellite data provide an opportunity to further calibrate and validate the fault mechanism and tsunami propagation models as well. Thus, based on the proposed fault plane models, a series of numerical simulations for tsunami generation and propagation in the Bay of Bengal have been carried out. In comparison with the satellite data, the numerical results show that although the length of the entire ruptured zone is up to 1300 km long for this earthquake, the duration of slip and the rupture speed are still relatively short in comparison with the time scale and the propagation speed of tsunami and the impulsive fault plane model simulates reasonably well the tsunamis in the deep ocean.An inverse method is developed to optimize the seafloor displacement on the fault plane based on the measurements of satellite Jason-1. Finally, employing the optimized fault plane model, we demonstrate that the tsunami simulation model can produce results that match very well with the measurements of sea surface level by satellite TOPEX/Poseidon and available tidal gage measurements at Maldives.