Kim, K.O., Choi, B.H., Pelinovsky, E. and Jung, K.T., 2013. Three-dimensional simulation of 2011 East Japan-off Pacific coast earthquake tsunami induced vortex flows in the Oarai port.
The huge tsunami was generated by the 11 March 2011 off coast of the Pacific side of East Japan, recording a maximum 40 meter run up in Iwate prefecture. The tsunami wave attacked the Oarai port of Ibaraki prefecture within 30 minutes, and created an enormous vortex flow within the harbor. A similar feature was observed in the Imwon port, in the Eastern Korean coast during the 1983 tsunami event in the East (Japan) Sea. A set of simulations have been performed to investigate the generation of the powerful vortex caused by the 2011 tsunami event at the Oarai Port. The application of numerical models has successfully reproduced the formation of the vortex in the center of the port, which can be clearly identified in a photograph taken during the tsunami. The simulation of tsunami generation and propagation at the outer sea is performed with a hydrostatic model and, for the investigation of a more detailed transient pattern of water flows, the model which uses full Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations is applied. Examination of the Oarai and Imwon vortexes implies that the generation and strength of a vortex due to tsunami wave is strongly related in the size and the shape of port and breakwater layouts. The present work indicates that time-variation the inflow through the mouth of a harbor controls the transient pattern of the vortex.