Modeling of the 2010 Tsunami in South-Central Chile

Alexandra Ruiz
May 2015

Problem To Be Addressed

A long-term goal of paleotsunami studies is to predict paleoearthquake parameters based on tsunami deposits found on land. The coast of Chile provides an excellent study area to try to accomplish this goal, as the country has a long history of historical (written records) earthquakes (Figure 1), and paleoearthquakes (geologic records of tsunami deposits). Written records are available for the 1575, 1737, 1837, and 1960 earthquakes and can include descriptions of earthquake shaking, tsunamis, and coastal uplift (Figure 1). Most data prior to the 1960 earthquake is limited to eyewitness written accounts from Chileans and Spanish conquistadors, or estimations from modern studies (i.e. fault rupture locations) (Figure 2). The 2010 earthquake and tsunami are the most recent and best-documented in the area. Datasets of inundation, run-up heights, and deposit descriptions from post-tsunami surveys and fault slip parameters from co-seismic slip models provide an opportunity to conduct a detailed study of the 2010 deposits. This will give a better understanding of the source characteristics and magnitude of the 2010 subduction zone rupture that generated the tsunami. Ultimately, the 2010 event can be used as a case study to apply to paleoearthquakes where tsunami deposits are the only records available.

Full Thesis Proposal (PDF format)