Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran

2 Environmental Engineering, University of Tehran

3 International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), Tehran, Iran


This research attempts to assess the history of tsunami occurrences and potential for tsunami generation at the southern coasts of Iran bordering the Indian Ocean by providing a list of historical tsunamis in this region and also, modeling of phases of tsunami generation and propagation. After the December 2004 mega-tsunami in the Indian Ocean, wide efforts were devoted to assess hazard of tsunami, and to develop tsunami warning and mitigation systems in the region. To assess the hazard of tsunami in any particular region, the compilation of historical records of tsunami is always the first primary task. Such a list may lead to useful information about the return period of tsunami events, and most vulnerable coastlines to the impact of possible tsunami. Regarding this fact, in the framework of this study, the first list of Makran historical tsunamis is provided. The Makran zone is located offshore Iran and Pakistan and any tsunami in this region would affect coastlines of Iran, Pakistan, Oman, and India. The last major tsunami in this region was produced following the occurrence of an 8.1 magnitude earthquake which took the lives of at least 4000 people all over the Makran coasts. Also, in this research, the potential for tsunami generation in the Makran subduction zone is quantitatively estimated through modeling of tsunami generation phase. In this regard, based on Mansinha and Smylie (1971) formulas a computer program has been developed to predict the ocean floor deformation due to the occurrence of underwater earthquakes in subduction zones. After the verification of model results, it has been employed to predict possible ocean floor deformation after the occurrence of underwater earthquake in the Makran subduction zone. Tsunami generation analysis shows that the risk of tsunami generation from Makran subduction zone can be classified into three main categories, as follows: (1) very little risk for tsunami generation in the case of occurrence of an earthquake having magnitude up to 7; (2) little to medium risk (Magnitude ranging 7 to 7.5); and (3) high risk (Magnitude greater than 7.5). In the next section of the paper, the tsunami propagation in the Makran zone was modeled. The results of tsunami propagation indicate that in the case of tsunami production in this region, the first tsunami waves will hit the nearest shoreline within 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, considering tsunami hazard assessment performed in this paper, the necessity for the development of a tsunami warning system in southern coasts of Iran was emphasized and its components and orderly sequences of tasks are proposed.     


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