Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Research article
09 May 2012
Research article |  | 09 May 2012

Mapping and historical reconstruction of the great Mexican 22 June 1932 tsunami

N. Corona and M. T. Ramírez-Herrera

Abstract. At 07:00 h (UTC-6) on 22 June 1932, a Ms = 6.9 earthquake shocked the coasts of Colima and Jalisco. Five minutes later a tsunami arrived at the coast. It almost completely destroyed the town of Cuyutlán, Colima, causing the deaths of 50 people and leaving about 1200 injured. In this study, newspaper reports and technical reports are reviewed, as well as survivors' testimonials. The physical characteristics (mean sea level at the time, time of arrival, sea retreat, and inundation distribution) and the tsunami effects (number of victims, injuries, affected buildings) have been reconstructed and mapped. The interpretation of historical data allowed us to determine the intensity of the tsunami and to reveal the tsunamigenic source. This study emphasizes the relevance of historical analysis, including survivor's testimonies, in the reconstruction of tsunamis that lack instrumental data. The results of this study are relevant to paleotsunami studies and tsunami related hazard planning.