Jan M. Jordaan


The wave action due to a sudden impulse in a body of water was studied in a wave basin with beach in the laboratory. Waves were impulsively generated in the 90 ft. tank of water, 3 ft. deep, by the impact or sudden withdrawal of a paraboloidal plunger 14 ft. in diameter. The waves had a dominant height of 2 inches and period of 3 seconds, respectively, at a distance of 50 ft. from the plunger. Such waves are scale representations of those generated by sudden impulses in the ocean, such as an underwater nuclear explosion, a sudden change in the ocean bed due to earthquakes, or the impact of a land slide. The waves produced by a downward impulse, or by an underwater explosion, form a dispersive system: whose properties are not constant as in a uniform progressive wave train. Wave periodicities, celerities and wave lengths increase with time of travel and wave heights decrease with travel distance. Theory has already been developed to predict the wave properties at a given travel time and distance for given source energy, displacement and travel path depth profile (Jordaan 1965). Measurements agree fairly well with predictions.


model study; impulsively-generated wave; wave basin

Full Text: