Two simulations of tsunamis produced by violent underwater earthquakes, prepared by the Tsunami Research Team of the University of Bologna, show that tsunamis propagate through the Mediterranean basin in a very short time. In fifteen minutes, a large coastal area near the source of the tsunami is hit, and within an hour the tsunami has crossed the basin and arrived on the opposite coast.
The first scenario simulates an earthquake West of Crete in the eastern Mediterranean. Similar tsunamis occurred in 1303 and 365 AD. After 30 minutes the tsunami hits Libya, after45 minutes the wave has already hit the Italian coasts of Apulia, Calabria and eastern Sicily, with waves up to several metres high. After 90 minutes the waves reach Alexandria in Egypt and inundate the Nile Delta.
Click on the figure below to see the video of the simulation.
The second scenario shows the propagation of a tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of eastern Sicily, similar to the one of 1693 which was linked to Etna volcanic activity. After 45 minutes the wave has already reached the Greek coasts and hit a large part of the Italian Ionic coasts. After 1 hour the wave arrives in Lybia.
The Tsunami Research Team of the University of Bologna studied the tsunami risk mostly on the basis of historical events and prepared scenarios of possible future tsunami events using data from the Italian Tsunami Catalogue. The coasts resulting the most exposed to tsunami risk are those of southern Italy, i.e. Apulia, Sicily and Calabria.
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