Peer reviewed Publication. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012. doi:10.1029/2011JC007850, in press.
Tsunamis generated by deformable granular landslides are physically modeled in a three-dimensional tsunami wave basin based on the generalized Froude similarity. The dynamic landslide impact characteristics were controlled by means of a novel pneumatic landslide generator. The wave amplitudes, periods and wavelengths are related to the landslide parameters at impact with the landslide Froude number being a dominant parameter. Between 1-15% of the landslide kinetic energy at impact is converted into the wave train energy. The wave amplitudes decay in radial and angular directions from the landslide axis. The first wave crest mostly travels with speeds close to the theoretical approximation of the solitary wave speed. The measured tsunami wave profiles were either of the non-linear oscillatory or non-linear transition type depending primarily on the landslide Froude number and relative slide thickness at impact. The generated waves range from shallow to deep water depth regimes, with the majority being in the intermediate water depth regime. Wave characteristics are compared with other two- and three-dimensional landslide tsunami studies and the results are discussed.