Submarine landslides, also known as submarine mass failures (SMFs), are major natural marine disasters that could critically damage coastal facilities such as nuclear power plants and oil and gas platforms. It is therefore essential to investigate submarine landslides for potential tsunami hazard assessment. Three-dimensional seismic data from offshore Brunei have revealed a giant seabed mass deposited by a previous SMF. The submarine mass extends over 120 km from the continental slope of the Baram Canyon at 200 m water depth to the deep basin floor of the Northwest Borneo Trough. A suite of in-house two-dimensional depth-averaged tsunami simulation model TUNA (Tsunami-tracking Utilities and Application) is developed to assess the vulnerability of coastal communities in Sabah and Sarawak subject to potential SMF tsunami. The submarine slide is modeled as a rigid body moving along a planar slope with the center of mass motion parallel to the planar slope and subject to external forces due to added mass, gravity, and dissipation. The nonlinear shallow water equations are utilized to simulate tsunami propagation from deepwater up to the shallow offshore areas. A wetting-drying algorithm is used when a tsunami wave reaches the shoreline to compute run up of tsunami along the shoreline. Run-up wave height and inundation maps are provided for seven densely populated locations in Sabah and Sarawak to highlight potential risks at each location, subject to two scenarios of slide slopes: 2° and 4°. The first wave may arrive at Kudat as early as 0.4 h after the SMF, giving local communities little time to evacuate. Over a small area, maximum inundated depths reaching 20.3 m at Kudat, 26.1 m at Kota Kinabalu, and 15.5 m at Miri are projected, while the maximum inundation distance of 4.86 km is expected at Miri due to its low-lying coast. In view of the vulnerability of some locations to the SMF tsunami, it is important to develop and implement community resilience program to reduce the potential damage that could be inflicted by SMF tsunamis.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.