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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-388
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-388
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 02 Jan 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Deep Submarine Landslide Contribution to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Tsunami

Adrien Poupardin1,2, Eric Calais2, Philippe Heinrich3, Hélène Hébert3, Mathieu Rodriguez2, Sylvie Leroy4, Hideo Aochi2,5, and Roby Douilly6 Adrien Poupardin et al.
  • 1Institut de Recherche en Constructibilité, ESTP, Université Paris Est, Champ-sur-Marne, 77420, France
  • 2Ecole normale supérieure, Dept. of Geosciences, PSL Research University, CNRS, Paris, 75005, France
  • 3Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, DAM, DIF, Arpajon, 91290, France
  • 4Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, ISTeP, Paris, 75005, France
  • 5Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, Orléans, 45000, France
  • 6University of California, Riverside, Department of Earth Sciences, Riverside, 231, USA

Abstract. The devastating Mw 7, 2010, Haiti earthquake was accompanied by local tsunamis that caused fatalities and damage to coastal infrastructure. Some were triggered by slope failures of river deltas in close vicinity of the epicenter, while others, 30 to 50 km to the north across the Bay of Gonâve, are well explained by the reverse component of coseismic ground motion that accompanied this mostly strike-slip event. However, observations of run-up heights up to 2 m along the southern coast of the island at distances up to 100 km from the epicenter, as well as tide gauge and DART buoy records at distances up to 600 km from the epicenter have not yet received an explanation. Here we demonstrate that these observations require a secondary source, most likely a submarine landslide. We identify a landslide scar 30 km from the epicenter off the southern coast of Haiti at a depth of 3500 m, where ground acceleration would have been sufficient to trigger slope failure in soft sediments. This candidate source, 2 km3 in volume, matches observation remarkably well assuming that the sediment collapse obeys a viscous flow with an initial apparent viscosity of 2 × 105 Pa s. Although that particular source cannot be proven to have been activated in 2010, our results add to a line of evidence that earthquake-triggered submarine landslides can cause significant tsunamis in areas of strike-slip tectonic regime.

Adrien Poupardin et al.
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Short summary
The Mw 7 2010 Haiti earthquake was accompanied by local tsunamis that caused fatalities and damage to coastal infrastructure. Earthquakes alone could not explain all observations in Hispaniola Island. We suspected that a big submarine landslide occured and generated the 3 m high waves observed near Jacmel and Pedernales. We identify a landslide scar 30 km from the epicenter and at a depth of 3500 m and we simulate the corresponding tsunami which gives results very close to obsevation.
The Mw 7 2010 Haiti earthquake was accompanied by local tsunamis that caused fatalities and...
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