Technical Meeting and Luncheon: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Where: The Petroleum Club of Lafayette

When: 11:30am

Lunch: $20.00 for members ** Be Sure to Bring Your 2014-2015 Membership Dues!**

Luncheon Talk: Subduction, megathrusts and underwater landslides: what the 2011 Japanese tsunami has thought us on tsunami hazard


Many discrepancies have recently appeared when numerical modelers have tried to reproduce the Tohoku tsunami of March 11, 2011. Models of subduction dynamics have shown that while the timescale of the suduction process is controlled by the mantle flow, the coupling of the downgoing and overriding plates depend on the plate strength. Applying this insight to megathrusts it emerges that a release of gravity energy due to a reorganization of the crustal wedge is necessary to explain the observed run-up heights of up to 40 m measured along the coast the northeast part of Honshu Island. I will discuss how this finding has shed new light on the hazard related to landslide induced tsunamis in geological critical areas such as the Mississippi Fan in the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Gabriele Morra completed his PhD in computational geophysics from the ETH Zürich/Switzerland in 2005. Later he took up a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Computational Sciences at the ETH in the group of Petros Koumoutsakos, a world leader in turbulence modeling. Dr Morra moved then to Rome, Italy, where he focused on the study of megathrusts in subduction zones. In 2009 he won a Swiss National Foundation Advanced Researcher Fellowship to work at the School of Geosciences of the University of Sydney. There he developed statistical and numerical methods to discover the mechanisms behind global plate reorganizations, which happen on intervals of 50 Myrs. After two years as Research Professor at the Seoul National University, he joined the faculty of the Department of Physics and the School of Geosciences at UL Lafayette.

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