Articles | Volume 14, issue 7
Research article
29 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 29 Jul 2014

Assessment of tsunami hazards for the Central American Pacific coast from southern Mexico to northern Peru

B. Brizuela, A. Armigliato, and S. Tinti

Abstract. Central America (CA), from Guatemala to Panama, has been struck by at least 52 tsunamis between 1539 and 2013, and in the extended region from Mexico to northern Peru (denoted as ECA, Extended Central America in this paper) the number of recorded tsunamis in the same time span is more than 100, most of which were triggered by earthquakes located in the Middle American Trench that runs parallel to the Pacific coast. The most severe event in the catalogue is the tsunami that occurred on 2 September 1992 off Nicaragua, with run-up measured in the range of 5–10 m in several places along the Nicaraguan coast. The aim of this paper is to assess the tsunami hazard on the Pacific coast of this extended region, and to this purpose a hybrid probabilistic-deterministic analysis is performed, that is adequate for tsunamis generated by earthquakes. More specifically, the probabilistic approach is used to compute the Gutenberg–Richter coefficients of the main seismic tsunamigenic zones of the area and to estimate the annual rate of occurrence of tsunamigenic earthquakes and their corresponding return period. The output of the probabilistic part of the method is taken as input by the deterministic part, which is applied to calculate the tsunami run-up distribution along the coast.

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