Impact of earthquake source complexity and land elevation data resolution on tsunami hazard assessment and fatality estimation

Ario Muhammad*, Katsu Goda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
322 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the impact of model complexity in source characterization and digital elevation model (DEM) resolution on the accuracy of tsunami hazard assessment and fatality estimation through a case study in Padang, Indonesia. Two types of earthquake source models, i.e. complex and uniform slip models, are adopted by considering three resolutions of DEMs, i.e. 150 m, 50 m, and 10 m. For each of the three grid resolutions, 300 complex source models are generated using new statistical prediction models of earthquake source parameters developed from extensive finite-fault models of past subduction earthquakes, whilst 100 uniform slip models are constructed with variable fault geometry without slip heterogeneity. The results highlight that significant changes to tsunami hazard and fatality estimates are observed with regard to earthquake source complexity and grid resolution. Coarse resolution (i.e. 150 m) leads to inaccurate tsunami hazard prediction and fatality estimation, whilst 50-m and 10-m resolutions produce similar results. However, velocity and momentum flux are sensitive to the grid resolution and hence, at least 10-m grid resolution needs to be implemented when considering flow-based parameters for tsunami hazard and risk assessments. In addition, the results indicate that the tsunami hazard parameters and fatality number are more sensitive to the complexity of earthquake source characterization than the grid resolution. Thus, the uniform models are not recommended for probabilistic tsunami hazard and risk assessments. Finally, the findings confirm that uncertainties of tsunami hazard level and fatality in terms of depth, velocity and momentum flux can be captured and visualized through the complex source modeling approach. From tsunami risk management perspectives, this indeed creates big data, which are useful for making effective and robust decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-100
Number of pages18
JournalComputers and Geoscience
Early online date16 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • DEM resolution
  • Earthquake source complexity
  • Tsunami hazard
  • Tsunami fatality
  • Big data


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