A natural 100 meter tsunami would be devastating but would a less energetic nuclear bomb enabled 100 meter tsunami fade out within a mile of the shoreline?
The 2011 tsunami in Japan released about 9,320,000 megatons (MT) of TNT energy. It had maximum height of 39 meters.
Greg Spriggs, a nuclear-weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, acknowledges that a 50-megaton weapon “could possibly induce a tsunami” and hit a shoreline with the energy equivalent to a 650-kiloton blast. Taking advantage of the rising-sea-floor amplification effect, tsunami waves reaching 100 meters [328 feet] in height are possible.
A near-shore blast from this type of weapon could suck up tons of ocean sediment, irradiate it, and rain it upon nearby areas — generating catastrophic radioactive fallout.
A detonation several miles from a coastline would deposit only about 1% of its energy as waves hitting the shore. That scenario may be more likely than an attack closer to the shore, assuming a US weapons-detection systems could detect an incoming Status-6 torpedo.
Spriggs believes the nuclear tsunami would dissipate before getting about a mile inland.
Run-up heights in the 10-50 meter range have associated inundation distances are often between 50 m and 1 km, but in areas with coastal plains, particularly those near the tsunami source, inundation can exceed 5 or even 10 km.
NPR is scared of the new Russian nuclear weapon solely based on the report that the nuclear bomb would have the yield of about 100 megatons. However, NPR has not realized that the Russia super-nuclear device could cause a mega-tsunami which would be able to kill a hundred million people in coastal areas like Florida and the eastern seaboard.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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