Articles | Volume 1, issue 4
Special issue:
31 Dec 2001
31 Dec 2001

Study of tsunami propagation in the Ligurian Sea

E. Pelinovsky, C. Kharif, I. Riabov, and M. Francius

Abstract. Tsunami propagation is analyzed for the Ligurian Sea with particular attention on the French coasts of the Mediterranean. Historical data of tsunami manifestation on the French coast are analyzed for the period 2000 B.C.–1991 A.D. Numerical simulations of potential and historical tsunamis in the Ligurian Sea are done in the context of the nonlinear shallow water theory. Tsunami wave heights as well as their distribution function is calculated for historical tsunamis and it is shown that the log-normal distribution describes reasonably the simulated data. This demonstrates the particular role of bottom irregularities for the wave height distribution function near the coastlines. Also, spectral analysis of numerical tide-gauge records is done for potential tsunamis, revealing the complex resonant interactions between the tsunami waves and the bottom oscillations. It is shown that for an earthquake magnitude of 6.8 (averaged value for the Mediterranean Sea) the tsunami phenomenon has a very local character but with long duration. For sources located near the steep continental slope in the vicinity of the French-Italian Rivera, the tsunami tide-gauge records in the vicinity of Cannes – Imperia present irregular oscillations with a characteristic period of 20–30 min and a total duration of 10–20 h. For the western French coasts the amplitudes are significantly less with characteristic low-frequency oscillations (period of 40 min–1 h).

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