Waveform and Spectral Analyses of the 2011 Japan Tsunami Records on Tide Gauge and DART Stations Across the Pacific Ocean

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Kenji Satake

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We studied the 11 March 2011 Tohoku tsunami through analysis of the sea level records from 21 tide gauge and 16 DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) stations from across the Pacific Ocean. The extreme power of this trans-oceanic tsunami was indicated by the trough-to-crest heights of 3.03 m at Arena Cove on the western coast of the USA and 3.94 m at Coquimbo on the southern coast of Chile. The average value of the maximum amplitude was 163.9 cm for the examined tide gauge records. At many coastal tide gauge stations the largest wave arrived several hours after the first arrival of the tsunami wave, and the tsunami lasted for a long time with an average duration of 4 days. On the contrary, at most of the DART stations in the deep ocean, the first wave was the largest, the tsunami amplitudes were smaller with an average maximum of 51.2 cm, and the durations were shorter with an average of 2 days. The two dominant tsunami periods on the DART records were 37 and 67.4 min, which are possibly attributed to the width and length of the tsunami source fault, respectively. The dimensions of the tsunami source was estimated as 233 km × 424 km. Wavelet analyses of tide gauge and DART records showed that most of the tsunami energy was distributed at the wide period band of around 10–80 min during the first hour after the tsunami arrival, then it was concentrated in a relatively narrower band. The frequency-time plots showed the switches and lapses of tsunami energy at the 35- and 65-min period bands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275–1293
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2013


  • Tsunami
  • earthquake
  • coastal engineering
  • waveforms
  • spectral analysis
  • numerical modelling


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