Field surveys and numerical modelling of the 2004 December 26 Indian Ocean tsunami in the area of Mumbai, west coast of India

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Alexander Rabinovich, Satoshi Kusumoto, C. P. Rajendran

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6 Citations (SciVal)


In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean (Sumatra-Andaman) tsunami, numerous survey teams investigated its effects on various locations across the Indian Ocean. However, these efforts were focused only on sites that experienced major destruction and a high death toll. As a consequence, some Indian Ocean coastal megacities were not examined. Among the cities not surveyed was Mumbai, the principal west coast port and economical capital of India with a population of more than 12 million. Mumbai is at risk of tsunamis from two major subduction zones in the Indian Ocean: The Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone (SASZ) and the Makran subduction zone (MSZ). As a part of the present study, we conducted a field survey of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami effects in Mumbai, analysed the available tide gauge records and performed tsunami simulations. Our field survey in 2018 January found run-up heights of 1.6-3.3 m in the Mumbai area. According to our analysis of tide gauge data, tsunami trough-To-crest heights in Okha (550 km to the north of Mumbai) and in Mormugao (410 km to the south of Mumbai) were 46 cm and 108 cm, respectively. Simulations of a hypothetical MSZ Mw 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, together with the Mw 9.1 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami, show that the tsunami heights generated in Mumbai by an MSZ tsunami would be significantly larger than those generated by the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman tsunami. This result indicates that future tsunami hazard mitigation for Mumbai needs to be based on a potential large MSZ earthquake rather than an SASZ earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1952-1964
Number of pages13
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


  • Earthquake hazards
  • Earthquake source observations
  • Indian Ocean
  • Numerical modelling
  • Subduction zone processes
  • Tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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