Central Mediterranean is exposed to three potential earthquake-related tsunami sources – indicates the article “Earthquake-generated tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea: Scenarios of potential threats to southern Italy” published in 2008 on the Journal of Geophysical Research. These are: the Tell system in the Algeria-Tunisia offshore capable of generating earthquakes up to magnitude 7.0, the southern Tyrrhenian Sea thrust system capable of triggering earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and higher, and the Hellenic Arc proven to be capable of generating frequent and occasionally very large earthquakes of magnitude greater than 8.0.
Tectonic map of the Mediterranean basin. Yellow dots indicate seismic events. Color-shaded ribbons highlight the main areas capable of generating tsunamis that pose significant hazard to Mediterranean shore-facing settlements.
For each of the investigated tsunami source zones, researchers simulated possible earthquake-related scenarios leading to tsunami and prepared maps of the maximum wave height, and of tsunami travel time.
Research results indicate that the greatest threat to central Mediterranean European and African coasts would come from earthquakes along the Hellenic Arc source zone. Waves with average maximum height of 1 m or higher are expected along most of southern and eastern Sicily (from Trapani to Messina) and the South-Eastern coasts of the southern Italy peninsula (from Reggio Calabria to Cantanzaro, Taranto, Brindisi and almost Bari). Travel time for waves reaching southern Italy and the south-eastern coasts of Sicily would be between 60-70 min.
Earthquakes along the southern Tyrrhenian source zone could produce low energy tsunamis. They estimated the average maximum wave height is around 0.2 m. Waves of 0.5 m and higher would affect only few localities around the northern coast of Sicily such as Palermo, Trapani, and Milazzo. The average wave travel times to these locations would vary between 5-10 min.The Algeria-Tunisia offshore source zone can generate tsunamis that would have a great impact on the coasts of Sardinia. The western coast of Sicily would be affected by maximum wave heights in the order of 0.5 m. Wave travel times would be in the order of 40-50 min.
Algeria-Tunisia offshore Source Zone
Southern Tyrrhenian Source Zone
Hellenic Arc Source Zone
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