Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 171, Issue 12, pp 3421–3435 | Cite as

Observations and Modeling of the August 27, 2012 Earthquake and Tsunami affecting El Salvador and Nicaragua

  • Jose C. BorreroEmail author
  • Nikos Kalligeris
  • Patrick J. Lynett
  • Hermann M. Fritz
  • Andrew V. Newman
  • Jaime A. Convers


On 27 August 2012 (04:37 UTC, 26 August 10:37 p.m. local time) a magnitude M w = 7.3 earthquake occurred off the coast of El Salvador and generated surprisingly large local tsunami. Following the event, local and international tsunami teams surveyed the tsunami effects in El Salvador and northern Nicaragua. The tsunami reached a maximum height of ~6 m with inundation of up to 340 m inland along a 25 km section of coastline in eastern El Salvador. Less severe inundation was reported in northern Nicaragua. In the far-field, the tsunami was recorded by a DART buoy and tide gauges in several locations of the eastern Pacific Ocean but did not cause any damage. The field measurements and recordings are compared to numerical modeling results using initial conditions of tsunami generation based on finite-fault earthquake and tsunami inversions and a uniform slip model.


Seismic Moment Tsunami Wave Slip Distribution Tsunami Height Tsunami Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to acknowledge Francisco Gavidia-Medina, Jeniffer Larreynaga-Murcia, Rodolfo Torres-Cornejo, Manuel Diaz-Flores, Fabio Alvarado and rest of the staff at MARN for logistical support, assistance during the field survey and excellent hospitality. Norwin Acosta of INETER conducted the survey of the sites in Nicaragua. Other field survey participants included Nicolas Arcos, Diego Arcas, and Julie Leonard. Laura Kong and the International Tsunami Information Center provided logistical and organizational support to the field survey. The Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña provided the opportunity for an aerial survey by helicopter of the tsunami-affected area.

Supplementary material

24_2014_782_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (6.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 6638 kb)
24_2014_782_MOESM2_ESM.png (188 kb)
Figure S1. Modeled maximum tsunami wave heights for the linearly-scaled finite fault distribution. a) S1 scaled by 1.92, and b) S2 scaled by 2.55. (PNG 187 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose C. Borrero
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nikos Kalligeris
    • 2
  • Patrick J. Lynett
    • 2
  • Hermann M. Fritz
    • 3
  • Andrew V. Newman
    • 4
  • Jaime A. Convers
    • 4
  1. 1.eCoast Ltd.RaglanNew Zealand
  2. 2.Tsunami Research Center, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.School of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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