Investigation of Hydrodynamic Parameters and the Effects of Breakwaters During the 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami in Kamaishi Bay

Ceren Ozer Sozdinler, Ahmet Cevdet Yalciner, Andrey Zaytsev, Anawat Suppasri, Fumihiko Imamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The March 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami was one of the most disastrous tsunami events on record, affecting the east coast of Japan to an extreme degree. Extensive currents combined with flow depths in inundation zones account for this devastating impact. Video footage taken by the eyewitnesses reveals the destructive effect and dragging capability of strong tsunami currents along the coast. This study provides a numerical modeling study in Kamaishi Bay, calculating the damage inflicted by tsunami waves on structures and coastlines in terms of the square of the Froude number Fr2; and also other calculated hydrodynamic parameters, such as the distribution of instantaneous flow depths, maximum currents and water surface elevations that occurred during this catastrophic tsunami. Analyses were performed by using the tsunami numerical modeling code NAMI DANCE with nested domains at a higher resolution. The effect of the Kamaishi breakwater on the tsunami inundation distance and coastal damage was tested by using the conditions of "with breakwater," "without breakwater," and "damaged breakwater." Results show that the difference between the hydrostatic pressure on the seaward side of the breakwater and the leeward side of the breakwater is quite high, clarifying conditions contributing to failure of the breakwater. Lower water surface elevations were calculated in the case of a breakwater existing at the entrance, a partly valid condition for the damaged breakwater case. The results are different for current velocities and Frmax 2 in the "with breakwater" condition due to the concentration of energy through the breakwater gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3473-3491
Number of pages19
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1


  • current velocity
  • dynamic tsunami input
  • flow depth
  • Froude number
  • inundation
  • march 11 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami
  • Tsunami
  • tsunami damage
  • water surface elevation


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