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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Coastal Seminar Series: A Hybrid Investigation of the Effect of the Water Body Geometry on Landslide-tsunamis Seminar

14 November 2013
University of Southampton Highfield Campus Building 32, Room 3077

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Barend Van Maanen at .

Event details

These seminars illustrate the breadth of coastal studies at the University of Southampton. Traditionally, this seminar series is held at Highfield, hosted by the faculty of Engineering and the Environment and will aim to showcase areas of research within the coastal research theme at Ocean and Earth Science.

Landslide-tsunamis (impulse waves) are generated when mass movements such as landslides, rock falls, snow avalanches or glacier calving impact a water body. Such waves have reached run-up heights of 524 m in the recent past. The effects of potential impulse waves have to be regularly assessed in lakes or during the planning and operational phases of hydropower projects, for example to select an adequate freeboard to prevent dam overtopping. This hazard assessment is commonly based on (i) a prototype-specific physical model study (most accurate, expensive), (ii) a prototype-specific numerical model study (accurate, (too) computationally expensive) and/or (iii) generic empirical equations (efficient, less accurate).

This Seminar addresses the effect of the water body geometry on subaerial landslide-tsunamis with the main aim to support method (iii). Small scale physical model tests at the University of Southampton showed that the wave amplitudes are similar in the slide impact zone irrespective of the geometry, whereas the amplitude changed by up to a factor of 7 with increasing distance from the source. A NERC funded project at Imperial College London investigates the effect of the geometry in more detail with a hybrid (experimental-numerical) approach. The physical model experiments were conducted in both a 25 m long wave flume (2D) and a 12 m × 20 m large wave basin. The numerical simulation of the complex wave generation process is performed with Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics, alongside a less computational expensive approach for the wave propagation.

The Seminar highlights the three methods (i - iii) with particular focus on a generic hazard assessment methodology (VAW manual) based on method (iii); it addresses the results from the pre-study at the University of Southampton and presents initial findings from the ongoing research at Imperial College London with emphasis on the 2D experiments.

Speaker information

Dr Valentin Heller, Imperial College, London. Dr Valentin Heller is a PI within an Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship and a NERC funded project in the Fluid Mechanics Section of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research mainly concerns the verification of the concept and theory of distensible wave energy converters (WECs), landslide-tsunamis and scale effects. He was previously a Research Fellow working with leading WEC experts at the University of Southampton to investigate the hydrodynamics of the distensible WEC Anaconda and he gained further insight into wave energy conversion in the EquiMar project (funded by the European Community’s FP7). His first postdoctoral project took place at the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) after he has finished his PhD into the same topic namely landslide generated impulse waves (tsunamis). ETH Zurich was also the place where he received his MSc in Civil Engineering.

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