, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 281-316
Date: 18 Aug 2011

Historical tsunamis in the Adriatic Sea

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Tsunami activity in the Adriatic Sea from the sixteenth century until the present has been analysed with the ultimate goal to improve the European tsunami catalogue and provide data for a new geo-database of tsunami events in the European-Mediterranean region. The study encompasses twenty-seven events, nine on the western and eighteen on the eastern coast of the Adriatic, with special attention being devoted to contemporary sources and to local journals and newspapers. For all the analysed events, the path of information from coeval sources, through the nineteenth century and up to modern tsunami catalogues, has been constructed. Tsunamis on the western coast have already been studied, but to obtain a coherent picture of tsunamigenic activity in the Adriatic Sea, they have been included in this work. Furthermore, the study was extended to see whether they had propagated to the opposite coast. Most of the events on the eastern coast have now been systematically analysed for the first time. The search of bibliographical sources revealed three new reports on tsunamis on the eastern coast that had not been previously recorded in international publications. The study established that, out of the eighteen eastern Adriatic events, twelve can be considered false, while six were true tsunamis. In the last 600 years, fifteen true tsunami events occurred in the Adriatic. One was very strong, six were strong or rather strong, and eight were light tsunamis. As a final result of this analysis, carried out according to standardised criteria, fifteen Adriatic tsunami events will be inserted in the TRANSFER (Tsunami Risk ANd Strategies For the European Region) database for the European-Mediterranean region.