Articles | Volume 13, issue 5
Research article
13 May 2013
Research article |  | 13 May 2013

Tsunami hazard assessment of Guadeloupe Island (F.W.I.) related to a megathrust rupture on the Lesser Antilles subduction interface

J. Roger, B. Dudon, and N. Zahibo

Abstract. The French Caribbean Archipelago of Guadeloupe is located over the Lesser Antilles active subduction zone, where a handful of earthquakes have reached magnitudes of Mw = 7.0 (moment magnitude) and more. According to available catalogs, these earthquakes have been able to trigger devastating tsunamis, either directly by the shake or indirectly by induced landslides. The Guadeloupe Archipelago is known to have suffered from several violent earthquakes, including the 1843 Mw ~ 8.5 megathrust event. In this study, we discuss the potential impact of a tsunami generation scenario of a Mw = 8.5 rupture at the subduction interface using numerical modeling and high resolution bathymetric data within the framework of tsunami hazard assessment for Guadeloupe. Despite the fact that the mystery remains unresolved concerning the lack of historical tsunami data for the 1843 event, modeling results show that the tsunami impact is not uniformly distributed in the whole archipelago and could show important maximum wave heights. This is easily explained by the bathymetry and the presence of several islands around the main island leading to resonance phenomena, and because of the existence of a fringing coral reef partially surrounding Guadeloupe Island and its satellites. We then discuss the role of source parameters, the arrival times and the protective role of fringing coral reefs surrounding the islands, using tsunami modeling applied on two Guadeloupian touristic coastal places: Sainte-Anne and Saint-François.