Tsunamigenic potential of crustal faults and subduction zones in the Mediterranean

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 13;9(1):4326. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40740-1.


We compiled a database and systematically evaluated tsunamigenic potential of all up-to-date known crustal fault systems and subduction zones in the entire Mediterranean region that has experienced several catastrophic tsunamis in historical times. The task is accomplished by means of numerical modeling of tsunami generation and propagation. We have systematically simulated all representative ruptures populating known crustal faults and subduction interfaces with magnitudes ranging from 6.1 up to expected Mwmax. Maximum tsunami heights calculated everywhere along the coasts allowed us to classify the sources in terms of their tsunamigenic potential and to estimate their minimum tsunamigenic magnitude. Almost every source in the Mediterranean, starting from Mw = 6.5, is capable to produce local tsunami at the advisory level (wave height >20 cm and ≤50 cm). In respect to the watch level (wave height >50 cm) larger magnitudes are needed (Mw ≥ 6.9). Faults behave more heterogeneously in the context of far field early warning. De-aggregation of the database at any selected coastal location can reveal relevant sources of tsunami hazard for this location. Our compilation blueprints methodology that, if completed with source recurrence rates and site-specific amplification factors, can be considered as a backbone for development of optimal early warning strategies by Mediterranean tsunami warning providers.