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Keywords:

  • tsunami earthquake;
  • finite-fault modeling;
  • real-time warning;
  • tsunami modeling

[1] The moment magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck offshore the Mentawai islands in western Indonesia on 25 October 2010 created a locally large tsunami that caused more than 400 human causalities. We identify this earthquake as a rare slow-source tsunami earthquake based on: 1) disproportionately large tsunami waves; 2) excessive rupture duration near 125 s; 3) predominantly shallow, near-trench slip determined through finite-fault modeling; and 4) deficiencies in energy-to-moment and energy-to-duration-cubed ratios, the latter in near-real time. We detail the real-time solutions that identified the slow-nature of this event, and evaluate how regional reductions in crustal rigidity along the shallow trench as determined by reduced rupture velocity contributed to increased slip, causing the 5–9 m local tsunami runup and observed transoceanic wave heights observed 1600 km to the southeast.