Tsunamigenic potential of outer-rise normal faults at the Middle America trench in Central America



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Álvarez Gómez, José Antonio and Gutiérrez Gutiérrez, Omar Q. and Aniel Quiroga, Íñigo and González, Mauricio (2012) Tsunamigenic potential of outer-rise normal faults at the Middle America trench in Central America. Tectonophysics, 574-75 . pp. 133-143. ISSN 0040-1951

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Official URL: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/tectonophysics


The Middle America trench is formed by the subduction of the Cocos and Rivera plates under the Caribbean
and North American plates. The subduction interface presents low coupling in Central America showing its
seismicity a high frequency of outer-rise normal fault earthquakes. These outer-rise earthquakes are generated
on the inherited structures of the seafloor-spreading fabric during the subducting plate bending. We
analyze focal mechanism data in combination with the available structural data of the outer-rise normal
faults in order to constrain the rupture characteristics of the outer-rise normal earthquakes. A new empirical
scaling relationship is developed to define earthquake magnitudes from normal fault dimensions in the
outer-rise context. We numerically model the tsunami wave propagation due to the worst outer-rise
tsunamigenic source in the area to estimate its damaging potential. Wave elevations higher than 2 m are
common at the coast in front of the fault extent, with maximum wave elevations of 8 m. The capability of
these faults to generate ocean-wide tsunamis is low, however, they can produce significant tsunamis locally.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Tsunami, Middle America trench, Central America, Outer-rise earthquakes, Subduction, Earthquake scaling-relation
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
Sciences > Geology > Seismology
ID Code:25765
Deposited On:09 Jun 2014 12:00
Last Modified:09 Jun 2014 12:00

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