When a cosmic object strikes the Earth, it most probably falls into an ocean. Depending on the impact energy and the depth of the ocean, a large amount of water is displaced, forming a temporary crater in the water column. Large tsunami-like waves originate from the collapse of the cavity in the water and the ejecta splash. Because of the far-reaching destructive consequences of such waves, an oceanic impact has been suggested to be more severe than a similar-sized impact on land; in other words, oceanic impacts may punch over their weight. This review paper summarizes the process of impact-induced wave generation and subsequent propagation, whether the wave characteristic differs from tsunamis generated by other classical mechanisms, and what methods have been applied to quantify the consequences of an oceanic impact. Finally, the impact-induced tsunami hazard will be evaluated by means of the Eltanin impact event.
One contribution of 14 to a theme issue ‘Tsunamis: bridging science, engineering and society’.
- Accepted July 31, 2015.
- © 2015 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.