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Title: A Compound Faulting Model for the 1975 Kalapana, Hawaii, Earthquake, Landslide, and Tsunami

The Kalapana, Hawaii,MW7.7 earthquake on November 29, 1975 generated a local tsunami with at least 14.3 m runup on the southeast shore of Hawaii Island adjacent to Kilauea Volcano. This was the largest locally generated tsunami since the great 1868 Ka'u earthquake located along‐shore to the southwest. Well‐recorded tide gauge and runup observations provide a key benchmark for studies of statewide tsunami hazards from actively deforming southeast Hawaii Island. However, the source process of the earthquake remains controversial, with coastal landsliding and/or offshore normal or thrust faulting mechanisms having been proposed to reconcile features of seismic, geodetic, and tsunami observations. We utilize these diverse observations for the 1975 Kalapana earthquake to deduce a compound faulting model that accounts for the overall tsunamigenesis, involving both landslide block faulting along the shore and slip on the island basal décollement. Thrust slip of 4.5–8.0 m on the offshore décollement produces moderate near‐field runup but controls the far‐field tsunami. The slip distribution implies that residual strain energy was available for the May 4, 2018MW7.2 thrust earthquake during the Kilauea‐East Rift Zone eruption. Local faulting below land contributes to geodetic and seismic observations, but is non‐tsunamigenic and not considered. Slip of 4–10 m on landslide‐like faults, which extend from the Hilina Fault Zone scarp to offshore shallowly dipping faults reaching near the seafloor, triples the near‐field tsunami runup. This compound model clarifies the roles of the faulting components in assessing tsunami hazards for the Hawaiian Islands.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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