Historical tsunami in the Makran Subduction Zone off the southern coasts of Iran and Pakistan and results of numerical modeling

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2008-06-01
Heidarzadeh, Mohammad
Pirooz, Moharram D.
Zaker, Nasser H.
Yalçıner, Ahmet Cevdet
Mokhtari, Mohammad
Esmaeily, Asad
Tsunami hazard in the Makran Subduction Zone (MSZ), off the southern coasts of Iran and Pakistan, was studied by numerical modeling of historical tsunami in this region. Although the MSZ triggered the second deadliest tsunami in the Indian Ocean, among those known, the tsunami hazard in this region has yet to be analyzed in detail. This paper reports the results of a risk analysis using five scenario events based on the historic records, and identifies a seismic gap area in western Makran off the southern coast of Iran. This is a possible site for a future large earthquake and tsunami. In addition, we performed numerical modeling to explain some ambiguities in the historical reports. Based on the modeling results, we conclude that either the extreme run-up of 12-15 m assigned for the 1945 Makran tsunami in the historical record was produced by a submarine landslide triggered by the parent earthquake, or that these reports are exaggerated. The other possibility could be the generation of the huge run-up heights by large displacements on splay faults. The results of run-up modeling reveal that a large earthquake and tsunami in the MSZ is capable of producing considerable run-up heights in the far field. Therefore, it is possible that the MSZ was the source of the tsunami encountered by a Portuguese fleet in Dabhul in 1524.