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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 1 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 1-13, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 04 Jan 2013

Research article | 04 Jan 2013

Tsunamigenic earthquakes in the Gulf of Cadiz: fault model and recurrence

L. M. Matias1, T. Cunha1,2, A. Annunziato3, M. A. Baptista1,4, and F. Carrilho5 L. M. Matias et al.
  • 1Instituto Dom Luiz, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2Unidade de Geologia Marinha, LNEG, Amadora, Portugal
  • 3Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
  • 4Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 5Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera, I.P., Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract. The Gulf of Cadiz, as part of the Azores-Gibraltar plate boundary, is recognized as a potential source of big earthquakes and tsunamis that may affect the bordering countries, as occurred on 1 November 1755. Preparing for the future, Portugal is establishing a national tsunami warning system in which the threat caused by any large-magnitude earthquake in the area is estimated from a comprehensive database of scenarios. In this paper we summarize the knowledge about the active tectonics in the Gulf of Cadiz and integrate the available seismological information in order to propose the generation model of destructive tsunamis to be applied in tsunami warnings. The fault model derived is then used to estimate the recurrence of large earthquakes using the fault slip rates obtained by Cunha et al. (2012) from thin-sheet neotectonic modelling. Finally we evaluate the consistency of seismicity rates derived from historical and instrumental catalogues with the convergence rates between Eurasia and Nubia given by plate kinematic models.

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