Mass Movement-Induced Tsunami Hazard on Perialpine Lake Lucerne (Switzerland): Scenarios and Numerical Experiments

Hilbe, Michael; Anselmetti, Flavio (2015). Mass Movement-Induced Tsunami Hazard on Perialpine Lake Lucerne (Switzerland): Scenarios and Numerical Experiments. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 172(2), pp. 545-568. Springer 10.1007/s00024-014-0907-7

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Previous studies of the sediments of Lake Lucerne have shown that massive subaqueous mass movements affecting unconsolidated sediments on lateral slopes are a common process in this lake, and, in view of historical reports describing damaging waves on the lake, it was suggested that tsunamis generated by mass movements represent a considerable natural hazard on the lakeshores. Newly performed numerical simulations combining two-dimensional, depth-averaged models for mass-movement propagation and for tsunami generation, propagation and inunda- tion reproduce a number of reported tsunami effects. Four analysed mass-movement scenarios—three based on documented slope failures involving volumes of 5.5 to 20.8 9 106 m3—show peak wave heights of several metres and maximum runup of 6 to [10 m in the directly affected basins, while effects in neighbouring basins are less drastic. The tsunamis cause large-scale inundation over distances of several hundred metres on flat alluvial plains close to the mass-movement source areas. Basins at the ends of the lake experience regular water-level oscillations with characteristic periods of several minutes. The vulnerability of potentially affected areas has increased dramatically since the times of the damaging historical events, recommending a thorough evaluation of the hazard.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Hilbe, Michael and Anselmetti, Flavio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Flavio Anselmetti

Date Deposited:

26 Feb 2015 14:06

Last Modified:

11 May 2022 13:32

Publisher DOI:





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