Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
Special issue:
31 Oct 2003
31 Oct 2003

Tsunami generation in Stromboli island and impact on the south-east Tyrrhenian coasts

S. Tinti, G. Pagnoni, F. Zaniboni, and E. Bortolucci

Abstract. Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes in the Aeolian island arc in south Tyrrhenian sea, Italy. In the last 100 years the most relevant volcanic eruptions have beenaccompanied by local tsunamis, that have caused damage and casualties. In some cases the direct mechanism of local tsunami generation is clear, i.e. pyroclastic flows entering the sea. In some others it is uncertain and some speculation concerning the collapse of the eruptive column on the sea surface or the failure of some underwater mass can be made. But the ordinary activity is unlikely to generate large regional tsunamis. These can be produced by the lateral collapse of the volcanic cone that geomorphological and volcanological  investigations have proven to have occurred repeatedly in the recent history of the volcano, with return period in the order of some thousands of years. The last episode is dated to less than 5 ka BP, and left the Sciara del Fuoco scar on the north-west flank of Stromboli.

Based on previous studies, the possible collapse of the nortwestern sector of Stromboli and the consequent generation and propagation of a tsunami are explored. The impact on Stromboli and on the other islands of the Aeolian archipelago is estimated, as well as the impact on the coast of Sicily and the Tyrrhenian coasts of Calabria. The simulation is carried out by means of a double model: a Lagrangian block model to compute the motion of the collapsing mass, and a finite-element hydrodynamic model to compute the evolution of the tsunami. Two distinct tsunami simulations are carried out, one on a very fine grid around the source region to evaluate the tsunami near Stromboli, and one utilising a coarser grid covering the whole south-east Tyrrhenian sea to compute the tsunami propagation toward Sicily and Calabria. It is found that a huge-volume collapse of the north-western flank of the Stromboli cone is capable of producing a regional tsunami which is catastrophic at the source and devastating on long stretches of Tyrrhenian coasts, but particularly in the neighbouring islands of Panarea and Salina, and along the Calabria coasts around Capo Vaticano.

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