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Tsunami probability in the Caribbean Region

January 1, 2008

We calculated tsunami runup probability (in excess of 0.5 m) at coastal sites throughout the Caribbean region. We applied a Poissonian probability model because of the variety of uncorrelated tsunami sources in the region. Coastlines were discretized into 20 km by 20 km cells, and the mean tsunami runup rate was determined for each cell. The remarkable ???500-year empirical record compiled by O'Loughlin and Lander (2003) was used to calculate an empirical tsunami probability map, the first of three constructed for this study. However, it is unclear whether the 500-year record is complete, so we conducted a seismic moment-balance exercise using a finite-element model of the Caribbean-North American plate boundaries and the earthquake catalog, and found that moment could be balanced if the seismic coupling coefficient is c = 0.32. Modeled moment release was therefore used to generate synthetic earthquake sequences to calculate 50 tsunami runup scenarios for 500-year periods. We made a second probability map from numerically-calculated runup rates in each cell. Differences between the first two probability maps based on empirical and numerical-modeled rates suggest that each captured different aspects of tsunami generation; the empirical model may be deficient in primary plate-boundary events, whereas numerical model rates lack backarc fault and landslide sources. We thus prepared a third probability map using Bayesian likelihood functions derived from the empirical and numerical rate models and their attendant uncertainty to weight a range of rates at each 20 km by 20 km coastal cell. Our best-estimate map gives a range of 30-year runup probability from 0 - 30% regionally. ?? irkhaueser 2008.

Publication Year 2008
Title Tsunami probability in the Caribbean Region
DOI 10.1007/s00024-008-0416-7
Authors T. Parsons, E.L. Geist
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70032527
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse