Extreme runup from the 17 July 2006 Java tsunami

Hermann M Fritz, Widjo Kongko, Andrew Moore, Brian McAdoo, James Goff, Carl Harbitz, Burak Uslu, Nikos Kalligeris, Debora Suteja, Kenia Kalsum, Vasily Titov, Aditya Gusman, Hamzah Latief, Eko Santoso, Sungsang Sujoko, Dodi Djulkarnaen, Haris Sunendar, Costas Synolakis

Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (12), 2007, DOI: 10.1029/2007GL029404


The 17 July 2006 magnitude Mw 7.8 earthquake off the south coast of western Java, Indonesia, generated a tsunami that effected over 300 km of coastline and killed more than 600 people, with locally focused runup heights exceeding 20 m. This slow earthquake was hardly felt on Java, and wind waves breaking masked any preceding withdrawal of the water from the shoreline, making this tsunami difficult to detect before impact. An International Tsunami Survey Team was deployed within one week and the investigation covered more than 600 km of coastline. Measured tsunami heights and run-up distributions were uniform at 5 to 7 m along 200 km of coast; however there was a pronounced peak on the south coast of Nusa Kambangan, where the tsunami impact carved a sharp trimline in a forest at elevations up to 21 m and 1 km inland. Local flow depth exceeded 8 m along the elevated coastal plain between the beach and the hill slope. We infer that the focused tsunami and runup heights on the island suggest a possible local submarine slump or mass movement.

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