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Royal Society Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation International Exchanges Award

30 January 2014

Katsu Goda, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Bristol receives the Royal Society Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation International Exchanges Award for Multi-hazard Modelling of Large Subduction Earthquakes: Strong Motion & Tsunami.

Large earthquakes, such as the 2011 Tōhoku event, have many cascading catastrophic effects; after the mainshock there may be aftershocks, ground failures, fires, and tsunamis, which lead to loss of lives, injury and direct physical and financial losses, which greatly impact society. Understanding the risk, both physically and financially, associated with such a large event is very challenging, but necessary in order to implement effective mitigation measures. However, to date, decision-support tools that help put value to these potential losses have not integrated the multiple hazards into one comprehensive model; modellers working on ground-shaking hazard and modellers working on tsunami hazard will each produce their own risk estimates, failing to capture the inherently linked nature of these events.

However, Katsu Goda, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Bristol and Cabot Institute Member, is trying to change this by developing a multi-hazard model. In spring 2013, Goda travelled to Kyoto University in Japan to work with the Disaster Prevention Research Institute in order to validate his tsunami simulations using data from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake event. Goda was part of the Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team that surveyed Tōhoku after the tsunami and has witnessed the devastating effects first-hand.

“Looking at the damage made me realise that more needed to be done,” said Goda. “This is why I’m working toward a multi-hazard seismic assessment, which incorporates the risk associated with earth movements as well as the risk of a tsunami.”

Goda’s approach is novel in that it considers multiple earthquake slip models (obtained from various source inversion analyses and synthesised from stochastic slip models) - which describe the amount, distribution and timing of the slip associated with an earthquake; he’s found that the different models have a major influence on the tsunami simulation results. By considering multiple models in his analysis and assessing their tsunami prediction results, Goda is able to quantify the epistemic uncertainty associated with these predictions, and ultimately set a benchmark for all other tsunami predictions using the extensive data from the Tōhoku tsunami. The tsunami simulation tool will be incorporated into cascading mainshock-aftershocks ground-shaking models, which Goda has developed, to develop a comprehensive multi-hazard earthquake simulator.

Goda was awarded the prestigious 2012 Charles F Richter Award of the Seismological Society of America in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the goals of the Society as an early career researcher. 


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