Stability of breakwater armor units against tsunami attacks

Miguel Esteban*, Ravindra Jayaratne, Takahito Mikami, Izumi Morikubo, Tomoya Shibayama, Nguyen Danh Thao, Koichiro Ohira, Akira Ohtani, Yusuke Mizuno, Mizuho Kinoshita, Shunya Matsuba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The design of breakwater armor units against tsunami attacks has received little attention in the past because of the comparative low frequency of these events and the rarity of structures designed specifically to withstand them. However, field surveys of recent events, such as the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, have shown flaws in the design of protection structures. During these extreme events, many breakwaters suffered partial or catastrophic damage. Although it is to be expected that most normal structures fail because of such high-order events, practicing engineers need to possess tools to design certain important breakwaters that should not fail even during Level 2 events. In the future, research into the design of critical structures that only partially fail (i.e., resilient or tenacious structures) during very extreme Level 2 tsunami events should be a priority; in this sense, the present paper proposes a formula that allows the estimation of armor unit damage depending on the tsunami wave height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Hudson formula
  • Rubble-mound breakwater
  • Solitary waves
  • Stability
  • Tohoku
  • Tsunami
  • Van der Meer formula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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