Integrating geologic fault data into tsunami hazard studies
Abstract. We present the realization of a fault-source data set designed to become the starting point in regional-scale tsunami hazard studies. Our approach focuses on the parametric fault characterization in terms of geometry, kinematics, and assessment of activity rates, and includes a systematic classification in six justification levels of epistemic uncertainty related with the existence and behaviour of fault sources. We set up a case study in the central Mediterranean Sea, an area at the intersection of the European, African, and Aegean plates, characterized by a complex and debated tectonic structure and where several tsunamis occurred in the past. Using tsunami scenarios of maximum wave height due to crustal earthquakes (Mw=7) and subduction earthquakes (Mw=7 and Mw=8), we illustrate first-order consequences of critical choices in addressing the seismogenic and tsunamigenic potentials of fault sources. Although tsunamis generated by Mw=8 earthquakes predictably affect the entire basin, the impact of tsunamis generated by Mw=7 earthquakes on either crustal or subduction fault sources can still be strong at many locales. Such scenarios show how the relative location/orientation of faults with respect to target coastlines coupled with bathymetric features suggest avoiding the preselection of fault sources without addressing their possible impact onto hazard analysis results.