Modeling the Effects of Cascadia and Aleutian Tsunamis on Nu’u, Hawaii


Jasmine Stanek

Faculty Mentor(s)

Breanyn MacInnes (Geological Sciences)


Nu’u, Hawaii is a wildlife refuge located on the island of Maui, where multiple coral boulders deposited in the area are interpreted by the refuge scientists as having deposited in a high energy event, likely a tsunami, due to their size and depositional pattern. There is also a deposit of marine sediments deposited in the Nu’u wetlands that are located about 300 feet inland from the shoreline, similarly, interpreted as from the same tsunamis. Over the last few hundred years, Hawaii could have been suspectable to multiple tsunamis from both Cascadia and Aleutians earthquake sources.

Through modeling I am able to distinguish differences in the effects of these tsunami on Nu’u and the regional area to compare to the geologic data. In my project I use the GeoClaw tsunami modeling program to simulate the tsunamis using data from past earthquakes from the Aleutians and Cascadia. The Aleutians are thought to have occurred anywhere between 1425-1665 while Cascadia happened during 1700. By modeling the paths of these tsunamis, using simulated tide gauges to record tsunami wave heights around Maui, and calculating the inundation in Nu’u, I have analyzed differences in the effects of Cascadia and the Aleutians, in some of my preliminary results the Aleutians tsunamis seemed to have higher wave heights near Nu’u in comparison to Cascadia.

Keywords: Tsunami, Cascadia, Aleutians


5 thoughts on “Modeling the Effects of Cascadia and Aleutian Tsunamis on Nu’u, Hawaii”

  1. Do you think that the inconclusions in your wave data could be from the oceanic floor such as the volcanic rocks offshore submerged could have changed the wave patterns in some of the point of the waves? Kind of a natural breakpoint?

  2. Thanks for the great presentation and interesting topic! Could the software and modeling you used be implemented to predict the size and location of future events that may threaten Maui with a tsunami?

  3. Very interesting research project, Jasmine. This poster would be a great addition to the Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawaii.

  4. Thank you, Jasmine. I enjoyed seeing the hard work of my former classmate!
    Best wishes in your future work.
    Jim Gartrell

  5. Hi Jasmine! Great presentation, you did a stellar job of making it all make sense. It sounds like it was a really interesting project to do, as well!

    I had a question after watching this: do you think that the Aleutian tsunamis were simply from a larger displacement than the Cascadian Subduction Zone tsunamis, or do you think that proximity or another factor played into that difference?

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