Submarine landslide and tsunami hazards offshore southern Alaska: Seismic strengthening versus rapid sedimentation Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The southern Alaskan offshore margin is prone to submarine landslides and tsunami hazards due to seismically active plate boundaries and extreme sedimentation rates from glacially enhanced mountain erosion. We examine the submarine landslide potential with new shear strength measurements acquired by Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 341 on the continental slope and Surveyor Fan. These data reveal lower than expected sediment strength. Contrary to other active margins where seismic strengthening enhances slope stability, the high-sedimentation margin offshore southern Alaska behaves like a passive margin from a shear strength perspective. We interpret that seismic strengthening occurs but is offset by high sedimentation rates and overpressure. This conclusion is supported by shear strength outside of the fan that follow an active margin trend. More broadly, seismically active margins with wet-based glaciers are susceptible to submarine landslide hazards because of the combination of high sedimentation rates and earthquake shaking.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 8.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Sawyer, D. E., Reece, R. S., Gulick, S., & Lenz, B. L.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Sawyer, Derek E||Reece, Robert S||Gulick, Sean PS||Lenz, Brandi L

publication date

  • August 2017