Seismic Wavefields in the Deep Seafloor Area from a Submarine Landslide Source

Takeshi Nakamura, Hiroshi Takenaka, Taro Okamoto, Yoshiyuki Kaneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We use the finite difference method to simulate seismic wavefields at broadband land and seafloor stations for a given terrestrial landslide source, where the seafloor stations are located at water depths of 1,900-4,300 m. Our simulation results for the landslide source explain observations well at the seafloor stations for a frequency range of 0.05-0.1 Hz. Assuming the epicenter to be located in the vicinity of a large submarine slump, we also model wavefields at the stations for a submarine landslide source. We detect propagation of the Airy phase with an apparent velocity of 0.7 km/s in association with the seawater layer and an accretionary prism for the vertical component of waveforms at the seafloor stations. This later phase is not detected when the structural model does not consider seawater. For the model incorporating the seawater, the amplitude of the vertical component at seafloor stations can be up to four times that for the model that excludes seawater; we attribute this to the effects of the seawater layer on the wavefields. We also find that the amplification of the waveform depends not only on the presence of the seawater layer but also on the thickness of the accretionary prism, indicating low amplitudes at the land stations and at seafloor stations located near the trough but high amplitudes at other stations, particularly those located above the thick prism off the trough. Ignoring these characteristic structures in the oceanic area and simply calculating the wavefields using the same structural model used for land areas would result in erroneous estimates of the size of the submarine landslide and the mechanisms underlying its generation. Our results highlight the importance of adopting a structural model that incorporates the 3D accretionary prism and seawater layer into the simulation in order to precisely evaluate seismic wavefields in seafloor areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1167
Number of pages15
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • finite difference method
  • landslide
  • seafloor observation
  • seismic wave propagation
  • tonankai area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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