TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 64 (No. 12), pp. 1247-1257, 2012

Field measurements and numerical modeling for the run-up heights and inundation distances of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami at Sendai Plain, Japan

Kazuhisa Goto1, Koji Fujima2, Daisuke Sugawara3, Shigehiro Fujino4, Kentaro Imai3, Ryouta Tsudaka2, Tomoya Abe5, and Tsuyoshi Haraguchi6

1Planetary Exploration Research Center, Chiba Institute of Technology, 2-17-1 Tsudanuma, Narashino 275-0016, Japan
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National Defense Academy of Japan, 1-10-20 Hashirimizu, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 239-8686, Japan
3International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Aoba 06-6-11, Aramaki, Sendai 980-8579, Japan
4Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8572, Japan
5Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
6Graduate School of Sciences, Osaka City University, 3-3-138 Sugimoto, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-8585, Japan

(Received December 28, 2011; Revised February 21, 2012; Accepted February 23, 2012; Online published January 28, 2013)

Abstract: We conducted an urgent field survey at the Sendai Plain to measure the run-up heights and inundation distances of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami. We used GPS measurements because of the remarkably long inundation distances (ca. 5.4 km). We established an accurate measurement scheme using the far electric reference points (about 350 km). Using this method, we quickly measured 69 run-up heights within 3 days. The tsunami run-up heights and inundation distances varied mainly according to the local topography, ranging from 9.6 m at 0.4 km to 0.2 m at 5.4 km, respectively. Furthermore, artificial structures and topography played an important role in constraining the inundation limit. Our observations are important for future analyses using aerial and satellite imagery and numerical modeling in the area because the maximum inundation area might be underestimated in the images as a result of the subtle traces of the tsunami inundation, which were difficult to identify in the field. However, results show that numerical modeling might not reproduce minor inundation beyond the highway without sufficiently high-resolution topographic data because data for the modeling are usually rough, and the highway, small channels, and street gutters, which played an important role in local inundation, are too small a resolution to be recognized in the model.
Key words: The 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami, run-up height, Sendai Plain.

Corresponding author E-mail: kgoto@perc.it-chiba.ac.jp

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