The May 11 Paphos, Cyprus, earthquake: implications for stress regime and tsunami modelling for the Eastern Mediterranean shorelines

Abstract

The paper deals with the analysis of the propagation, heights, and arrival times of a tsunami that may occur on the coastal areas of Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean in the case of an earthquake in southern Cyprus. Following a review of the seismic risk and historical earthquakes which occurred in southern Cyprus, it was concluded that this region may be subject to high vulnerability if a tsunami occurs. A study was conducted on the numerical modelling of a possible tsunami generated by movement along the fault of the 1222 Paphos earthquake. The region where the earthquake occurred can be attributed to the Cyprian Arc in the southwest of Cyprus. This arc is one of the most active seismic zones in the Mediterranean, which has led to the occurrence of earthquakes from submerged seismogenic sources. A methodology is used to simulate tsunami wave propagation for the Eastern Mediterranean coastal areas which requires the initial wave due to fault parameters as well as the bathymetry data. The GEBCO30 bathymetry data are used which have a grid spacing of 0.30 arc min. The fault parameters are deduced from the maximum stress directions and source geometry of the region from the moment tensor solutions derived from analyzing of earthquake waveforms. The numerical tsunami propagation model was performed by using SWAN code. The simulated highest tsunami heights were 4.02 m in Kouklia (Cyprus); 2.85 m in Paphos Ktima (Cyprus); 2.58 in Episkopi (Cyprus); 2.06 in Peyia (Cyprus); 1.76 in Yennadhi, Rhodes (Greece); 1.53 in Burg Migheizil (Egypt); 1.46 m in Tarabulus (Lebanon); 1.39 m in Bur Said (Egypt); 1.28 in Al-Burj (Egypt); and 0.60 in Muğla-Aksaz (Turkey). The results of the model outline the extent of the tsunami waves of damaging size, but destructive event in the region.

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Acknowledgments

I express my warm thanks to Alessandro Annunziato for his support, guidance, and for sharing the Tsunami Analysis Tool (TAT). I am thankful to Edwin Porusingazi for proofreading of the manuscript. My appreciation is to the European Commission Joint Research Center associated with tsunami simulation and early warning analysis. Sincere thanks go to Roberto Basili for valuable information and providing several documents related to stress regimes from a dataset.

Funding

Financial support was from the Kocaeli University Research Fund for the presentation of the first version of the study in the conference of the 1st Conference of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences (CAJG), Hammamet, Tunisia.

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Correspondence to Ergin Ulutaş.

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This paper was selected from the 1st Conference of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences (CAJG), Tunisia, 2018

Responsible Editor: Longjun Dong

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Ulutaş, E. The May 11 Paphos, Cyprus, earthquake: implications for stress regime and tsunami modelling for the Eastern Mediterranean shorelines. Arab J Geosci 13, 970 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-05943-1

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Keywords

  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Historical earthquakes
  • Tsunamigenic earthquakes
  • Shallow water theory
  • Source parameters
  • Numerical tsunami simulation