Field Survey of the 2018 Sulawesi Tsunami: Inundation and Run-up Heights and Damage to Coastal Communities

Takahito Mikami*, Tomoya Shibayama, Miguel Esteban, Tomoyuki Takabatake, Ryota Nakamura, Yuta Nishida, Hendra Achiari, Rusli, Abdul Gafur Marzuki, Muhammad Fadel Hidayat Marzuki, Jacob Stolle, Clemens Krautwald, Ian Robertson, Rafael Aránguiz, Koichiro Ohira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


On September 28, 2018, a large earthquake and its accompanying tsunami waves caused severe damage to the coastal area of Palu Bay, in the central western part of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. To clarify the distribution of tsunami inundation and run-up heights, and damage to coastal communities due to the tsunami, the authors conducted a field survey 1 month after the event. In the inner part of Palu Bay tsunami inundation and run-up heights of more than 4 m were measured at many locations, and severe damage by the tsunami to coastal low-lying settlements was observed. In the areas to the north of the bay and around its entrance the tsunami inundation and run-up heights were lower than in the inner part of the bay. The tsunami inundation distance depended on the topographical features of coastal areas. The southern shore of the bay experienced a longer inundation distance than other shores, though generally severe damage to houses was limited to within around 200 m from the shoreline. The main lessons that can be learnt from the present event are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3291-3304
Number of pages14
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 1


  • 2018 Sulawesi Earthquake
  • Palu Bay
  • Tsunami
  • earthquake
  • field survey
  • inundation height
  • run-up height

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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