Special Issue "Tsunami Science and Engineering"


A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2014

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Valentin Heller
Fluid Mechanics Section, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, SW7 2AZ, UK
Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/v.heller
E-Mail: v.heller@imperial.ac.uk
Phone: +44 20 7594 5901
Interests: landslide-tsunamis; landslide-generated impulse waves; scale effects; wave energy conversion; hydraulic structures; coastal engineering; experimental fluid dynamics; smoothed particle hydrodynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent earthquake-tsunamis including the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, with over 230,000 casualties, and the 2011 Tōhoku Tsunami in Japan, with over 18,500 people missing or dead, serve as tragic reminders that such waves pose a major natural hazard to human beings. Landslide-tsunamis, including the 1958 Lituya Bay case, may exceed 150 m in height and if similar waves are generated in lakes or reservoirs (so-called impulse waves), then they may overtop dams and cause significant devastation downstream, such as in the 1963 Vaiont case with around 2,000 casualties.

The after-effects due to such catastrophes are not limited to the region immediately impacted by the wave; for example, the 1963 Vaiont case affected hydropower plant planning and management globally and the 2011 Tōhoku Tsunami initiated changes to nuclear power plant policies worldwide.
Active prevention of the wave generation is extremely unlikely and limited to rare cases where creeping slides could be stabilized. Scientists and engineers thus work mainly on passive methods to face this hazard. In many cases, the propagation time between generation and shoreline is sufficiently long, allowing early warning systems for evacuation to be an effective passive method. For impulse waves in smaller water bodies, however, the propagation time is too short for an adequate evacuation so further passive methods are critical. Such methods include sea walls, reinforced infrastructure and the provision of adequate freeboards of dam reservoirs. These methods require detailed knowledge of (i) the wave features as a function of the generation mechanism, (ii) the shoreline run-up and (iii) the interaction with structures.
Despite a significant increase in research activities after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, there certainly can be — and needs to be — more research with the aim to reduce the destruction caused by tsunamis to us and our environment.

This special issue “Tsunami Science and Engineering” is launched to reflect our current understanding of tsunamis and tsunami mitigation, irrespective of the mechanism by which they are generated: earthquakes, landslides, underwater slumps, asteroids etc. Welcome are research papers, reviews (state of the art) and case studies addressing tsunamis and/or impulse waves theoretically, experimentally, numerically and/or based on field studies. I sincerely look forward to receiving original and exciting contributions of high quality.

Dr. Valentin Heller
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • Earthquake-tsunamis
  • Impulse waves
  • Landslide-generated impulse waves
  • Landslide-tsunamis
  • Long wave run-up
  • Seismic tsunamis
  • Solitary waves
  • Tsunami early warning system
  • Tsunami forecasting
  • Tsunami hazard assessment
  • Tsunami hazard mitigation
  • Tsunami-induced overland flow
  • Tsunami loading on structures

Published Papers (1 paper)

by  and
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2014, 2(2), 400-412; doi:10.3390/jmse2020400
Received: 18 February 2014; in revised form: 11 March 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 29 April 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (925 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Impulse Wave Generation: Comparison of Free Granular with Mesh-Packed Slides
Frederic M. Evers and Willi H. Hager
Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland; E-Mails: evers@vaw.baug.ethz.ch (F.M.E.); hager@vaw.baug.ethz.ch (W.H.H.)
Slides generating impulse waves are currently generated using either block models or free granular material impacting a water body. These procedures were mainly developed to study plane impulse waves, i.e. wave generation in a rectangular channel. The current VAW, ETH Zurich research is directed to spatial impulse wave features, i.e. waves propagating in a wave basin. The two wave generation mechanisms previously mentioned complicate this process for various reasons, including experimental handling, collection of slide material in wave basin, poor representation of prototype conditions for the block model, and excessive temporal duration for free granular slides. In the paper proposed, impulse waves originating from slides with free granular material and these with mesh-packed slides will be compared. Detailed test series will be presented, so that the resulting main wave features can be compared. The results will highlight whether the simplified procedure involving mesh-packed slides can be applied in future research, and specify advantages in terms of impulse wave experimentation.
hydraulics; impulse product parameter; impulse wave; landslide; physical modeling; water wave

Type of Paper: Article
Run-up features of solitary waves
Helgi J. Hafsteinsson 1, Frederic M. Evers 2 and Willi H. Hager 2
1 Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (D-BAUG), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland; E-Mail: helgih@student.ethz.ch;
Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland; E-Mails: evers@vaw.baug.ethz.ch (F.M.E.); hager@vaw.baug.ethz.ch (W.H.H.)
Solitary waves represent physically the main characteristics of tsunamis as observed in nature. Experiments were conducted in a rectangular, prismatic channel to study their run-up features. The negative bottom inclination of the channel varied from 1 to 6 °, representing a simplified shore. The main hydraulic parameters investigated included the relative wave height, the stillwater depth, and the bottom inclination mentioned. The paper will particularly address the development of the solitary wave including wave propagation, decay of maximum wave height, wave front characteristics, and the associated air entrainment. Of particular engineering interest are the point of maximum wave height, the location of the wave front, and the bore features, of which the velocity and height will be considered. Based on a number of laboratory tests, these features will be physically described so that insight in a highly fascinating field of water waves will be available. The paper includes film-like image series describing the wave run-up features, allowing for a description of the flow complexities observed.
bore; hydraulics; physical modeling; solitary wave; tsunami; wave breaking; wave run-up

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Potential wave and run-up (tsunami) reconstruction of a submarine landslide in the continental slope of the Naples Bay and relationships with gravity instabilities in the Dohrn valley (Naples)
Vincenzo Di Fiore, Gemma Aiello * and Bruno D’Argenio
Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero (IAMC), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR),  Calata Porta di Massa, Porto di Napoli, 80133, Napoli, Italy; E-Mails: vincenzo.difiore@cnr.it (V.D.F.); gemma.aiello@iamc.cnr.it (G.A.); bruno.dargenio@iamc.cnr.it (B.D.)
Potential wave and run-up (tsunami) reconstruction in the Naples Bay has been evaluated through a numerical modeling developed in the case history of submarine landslides in the Dohrn valley (Naples, Italy). The Naples Bay canyon system (Dohrn and Magnaghi canyon) has been deeply studied through submarine geomorphology and volcanology coupled with seismic stratigraphy. Main areas of incipient or fossil submarine instability at the sea bottom have been defined through a detailed interpretation of Multibeam bathymetry. Bathymetric profiles crossing the canyon system, now inactive and covered by a thin drape of Holocene sediments, have been constructed in order to give morphological constraints on its geologic evolution.  The canyon system is located in the Naples offshore, where volcanological controls triggered by Phlegrean Fields, Ischia and Procida volcanic complexes strongly interacted during the Late Quaternary with tectonic and sedimentary controls due to the sediments sourced in the bay by the Sorrento Peninsula tectonic uplift and palaeo-Sarno-Sebeto river mouth. The results of the numerical modeling carried out in source areas show that the amplitude of wave run-up, expressed in terms of the sea floor depth percentage, ranges between up to 2.5% of the water depth at the sea bottom.
Keywords: numerical modeling; submarine landslides; tsunami, Dohrn valley; Naples Bay

Last update: 15 July 2014

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