Evaluation of far-field tsunami hazard in French Polynesia based on historical data and numerical simulations
Abstract. The first tsunami hazard map of French Polynesia is presented here on the basis of historical data, and numerical simulations.
French Polynesia, because of its central position in the most tsunami prone ocean, the Pacific, is strongly exposed to far-field tsunamis. As no previous study on the area had been conducted, we compiled catalogues of all the historical observations (14 events), and tide gauges records (69 marigrams). The catalogues emphasise the higher hazard associated to the Marquesas archipelago, but also the deficiency of robust data in most other parts of French Polynesia. The recourse to numerical simulations allowed us to complement the existing records, and to test tsunami scenarii over different bathymetry and topography configurations, representative of the diversity of islands in French Polynesia. The tsunami hazard map assigns a high exposure level to the Marquesas and the island of Rurutu. Other islands of the Austral, and the Gambier archipelago have a elevated level of exposure, as well as three islands of Society: Tahiti, Moorea, and Huahine. All other islands of French Polynesia are considered as moderately exposed.