Articles | Volume 14, issue 5
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1155–1168, 2014
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 1155–1168, 2014

Research article 19 May 2014

Research article | 19 May 2014

Tsunami hazard assessment in the southern Colombian Pacific basin and a proposal to regenerate a previous barrier island as protection

L. J. Otero1, J. C. Restrepo1, and M. Gonzalez2 L. J. Otero et al.
  • 1Physics Department, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia
  • 2Environmental Hydraulics Institute IH Cantabria, Santander, Spain

Abstract. In this study, the tsunami hazard posed to 120 000 inhabitants of Tumaco (Colombia) is assessed, and an evaluation and analysis of regenerating the previous El Guano Island for tsunami protection is conducted. El Guano Island was a sandy barrier island in front of the city of Tumaco until its disappearance during the tsunami of 1979; the island is believed to have played a protective role, substantially reducing the scale of the disaster. The analysis is conducted by identifying seismotectonic parameters and focal mechanisms of tsunami generation in the area, determining seven potential generation sources, applying a numerical model for tsunami generation and propagation, and evaluating the effect of tsunamis on Tumaco. The results show that in the current situation, this area is vulnerable to impact and flooding by tsunamis originating nearby. El Guano Island was found to markedly reduce flood levels and the energy flux of tsunami waves in Tumaco during the 1979 tsunami. By reducing the risk of flooding due to tsunamis, the regeneration and morphological modification of El Guano Island would help to protect Tumaco.

Final-revised paper