Effects of transient water mass redistribution associated with a tsunami wave on Earths pole path

A. R. Pisani, A. Piersanti, D. Melini, A. Piatanesi, G. Soldati


We have quantified the effects of a water mass redistribution associated with the propagation of a tsunami wave
on the Earths pole path and on the Length-Of-Day (LOD) and applied our modeling results to the tsunami following
the 2004 giant Sumatra earthquake. We compared the result of our simulations on the instantaneous rotational
axis variations with the preliminary instrumental evidence on the pole path perturbation (which has not
been confirmed) registered just after the occurrence of the earthquake. The detected perturbation in the pole path
showed a step-like discontinuity that cannot be attributed to the effect of a seismic dislocation. Our results show
that the tsunami induced instantaneous rotational pole perturbation is indeed characterized by a step-like discontinuity
compatible with the observations but its magnitude is almost one hundred times smaller than the detected
one. The LOD variation induced by the water mass redistribution turns out to be not significant because the
total effect is smaller than current measurements uncertainties.


Earth rotation;pole path variation;tsunami wave;Sumatra earthquake

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3064
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X