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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2015 Oct 28;373(2053). pii: 20140380. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2014.0380.

Source mechanisms of volcanic tsunamis.

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Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal, BP 10448, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France CNRS, UMR 6524, Magmas et Volcans, 63038 Clermont-Ferrand, France


Volcanic tsunamis are generated by a variety of mechanisms, including volcano-tectonic earthquakes, slope instabilities, pyroclastic flows, underwater explosions, shock waves and caldera collapse. In this review, we focus on the lessons that can be learnt from past events and address the influence of parameters such as volume flux of mass flows, explosion energy or duration of caldera collapse on tsunami generation. The diversity of waves in terms of amplitude, period, form, dispersion, etc. poses difficulties for integration and harmonization of sources to be used for numerical models and probabilistic tsunami hazard maps. In many cases, monitoring and warning of volcanic tsunamis remain challenging (further technical and scientific developments being necessary) and must be coupled with policies of population preparedness.


caldera collapse; flank instability; pyroclastic flows; underwater explosions; volcanic tsunami


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