Second International Workshop on Asteroid Threat Assessment: Asteroid-generated Tsunami (AGT) and Associated Risk Assessment Sponsored by: NASA and NOAA Date: August 23, 24, 2016

August 23, 24, 2016


The First International Workshop on Asteroid Threat Assessment was held at NASA Ames Research Center, July 7-9, 2015. Its focus was on asteroid impacts through physical characterization, modeling of atmospheric entry/ breakup, surface damage, and risk assessment, with emphasis on small impactors. The workshop highlighted the need to better understand scenarios that can lead to tsunami and their potential for wide-spread damage of coastal regions.

To meet this need, the planned Second International Workshop on Asteroid Threat Assessment is focused on Asteroid-generated Tsunami (AGT) and Associated Risk Assessment. The relevance of the AGT workshop has recently increased because NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordinating Office (PDCO) chartering of a new Science Definition Team (SDT) whose purpose is to update the results of the 2003 study that concluded that the lower size of Near Earth Objects that should be cataloged is 140 meters.

Questions being posed by the New SDT relevant to the asteroid threat assessment community are:

  1. What are the smallest objects for which the search should be optimized? and
  2. Is there a transition size above which one catalogs all the objects and below which the design is simply to provide warning?

Since two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is water, the size of NEOs that can create devastation from Tsunami should be part of the consideration in answering the above questions. Of particular interest is the devastation that could be created by coastal inundation and run-up, and how does such a risk compare to that which the same sized object poses for a land impact.

Vision for The Workshop

To address the SDT’s questions and advance our understanding of tsunami generation by asteroid impacts, experts from NASA, NOAA and the NNSA Tri-labs (SNL, LLNL and LANL) will analyze several bounding cases that can potentially create tsunami. They are currently collaborating on defining potential scenarios and performing independent simulations using multiple computational tools. The experts are focusing on asteroid generated tsunami by 50 and 140 m impactors. Tsunami creation, propagation and damage from coastal runup and inundation are being analyzed separately. The cases will include impact on shallow and deep oceans, and continental shelf.


Webcasting will allow interested participants from around the world to attend the workshop virtually, as on-site accommodation is limited. On-site participation will be limited to by invitation only. For those who are unable to attend the workshop in person due to space limitations the workshop will be webcasted at: to allow for remote participation.