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Journal Articles Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences Year : 2020

Deep submarine landslide contribution to the 2010 Haiti earthquake tsunami


The devastating Mw 7.1 Haiti earthquake in 2010 was accompanied by local tsunamis that caused fatalities and damage to coastal infrastructure. Some were triggered by slope failures of river deltas in the close vicinity of the epicenter, while others, 30 to 50 km to the north across the Bay of Gonâve, are well explained by the reverse component of coseismic ground motion that accompanied this mostly strike-slip event. However, observations of run-up heights up to 2 m along the southern coast of the island at distances up to 100 km from the epicenter, as well as tide gauge and DART buoy records at distances up to 600 km from the epicenter, have not yet received an explanation. Here we demonstrate that these observations require a secondary source, most likely a submarine landslide. We identify a landslide scar 30 km from the epicenter off the southern coast of Haiti at a depth of 3500 m, where ground acceleration would have been sufficient to trigger slope failure in soft sediments. This candidate source, 2 km3 in volume, matches observations remarkably well assuming that the sediment collapse obeys a viscous flow with an initial apparent viscosity of 2×105 Pa s. Although that particular source cannot be proven to have been activated in 2010, our results add to a line of evidence that earthquake-triggered submarine landslides can cause significant tsunamis in areas of strike-slip tectonic regime.
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insu-03642010 , version 1 (14-04-2022)





Adrien Poupardin, Eric Calais, Philippe Heinrich, Hélène Hébert, Mathieu Rodriguez, et al.. Deep submarine landslide contribution to the 2010 Haiti earthquake tsunami. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2020, 20, pp.2055-2065. ⟨10.5194/nhess-20-2055-2020⟩. ⟨insu-03642010⟩
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