Source properties of the 1998 July 17 Papua New Guinea tsunami based on tide gauge records

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Kenji Satake

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We analysed four newly retrieved tide gauge records of the 1998 July 17 Papua New Guinea (PNG) tsunami to study statistical and spectral properties of this tsunami. The four tide gauge records were from Lombrum (PNG), Rabaul (PNG), Malakal Island (Palau) and Yap Island (State of Yap) stations located 600-1450km from the source. The tsunami registered a maximum trough-to-crest wave height of 3-9cm at these gauges. Spectral analysis showed two dominant peaks at period bands of 2-4 and 6-20min with a clear separation at the period of ~5min. We interpreted these peak periods as belonging to the landslide and earthquake sources of the PNG tsunami, respectively. Analysis of the tsunami waveforms revealed 12- 17min delay in landslide generation compared to the origin time of the main shock. Numerical simulations including this delay fairly reproduced the observed tide gauge records. This is the first direct evidence of the delayed landslide source of the 1998 PNG tsunami which was previously indirectly estimated from acoustic T-phase records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-369
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors 2015.


  • Earthquake source observations
  • Fourier analysis;Wavelet transform
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Submarine landslides
  • Tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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