Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
02 May 2011
Research article |  | 02 May 2011

Tsunami hazard for the city of Catania, eastern Sicily, Italy, assessed by means of Worst-case Credible Tsunami Scenario Analysis (WCTSA)

R. Tonini, A. Armigliato, G. Pagnoni, F. Zaniboni, and S. Tinti

Abstract. Eastern Sicily is one of the coastal areas most exposed to earthquakes and tsunamis in Italy. The city of Catania that developed between the eastern base of Etna volcano and the Ionian Sea is, together with the neighbour coastal belt, under the strong menace of tsunamis. This paper addresses the estimation of the tsunami hazard for the city of Catania by using the technique of the Worst-case Credible Tsunami Scenario Analysis (WCTSA) and is focused on a target area including the Catania harbour and the beach called La Plaia where many human activities develop and many important structures are present. The aim of the work is to provide a detailed tsunami hazard analysis, firstly by building scenarios that are proposed on the basis of tectonic considerations and of the largest historical events that hit the city in the past, and then by combining all the information deriving from single scenarios into a unique aggregated scenario that can be viewed as the worst virtual scenario. Scenarios have been calculated by means of numerical simulations on computational grids of different resolutions, passing from 3 km on a regional scale to 40 m in the target area. La Plaia beach results to be the area most exposed to tsunami inundation, with inland penetration up to hundreds of meters. The harbour turns out to be more exposed to tsunami waves with low frequencies: in particular, it is found that the major contribution to the hazard in the harbour is due to a tsunami from a remote source, which propagates with much longer periods than tsunamis from local sources. This work has been performed in the framework of the EU-funded project SCHEMA.