numerical simulation of new proposed tsunami scenarios for iquique



numerical simulation of new proposed tsunami scenarios for iquique
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the
Universidad Catolica Ssma Concepción, Chile, and National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster and Management (CIGIDEN),
[email protected]
Universidad Catolica del Norte and National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster and Management (CIGIDEN),
[email protected],
Technical University of Delft
[email protected]
Iquique is located in northern Chile, and it has an important activity related to tourism and commerce. The last major
earthquake and tsunami in northern Chile took place in 1877 with an estimated magnitude of 8.8. The generated
tsunami reached an inundation height of 5-6 m. Since then, the accumulated energy was estimated to be enough to
generate another Mw 8.8 earthquake. However, on April 2014, a Mw 8.1 earthquake took place, which released only
about 20% of the total accumulated energy. Therefore, a similar or even larger earthquake could occur in the near
future. The present paper analyzes the propagation and inundation of possible future tsunamis for the Iquique area in
order that proper mitigation measures can be proposed. Tsunami numerical simulations were performed with 5 nested
grids by means of the NEOWAVE model with a highest grid resolution of 10m. The results showed that tsunamis
generated by the north and south segments would not generate a significant inundation area. A major tsunami could
generate a flow depth up to 5m which is large enough to affect most of the important commercial areas of Iquique.
Furthermore, it can be observed that the inundation can also occur on both sides of the Cavancha peninsula, thus
transforming the peninsula into an island, thus evacuation routes are cut off. Moreover, the combination of tsunami
source areas with different initiation time could generate even larger inundation.
Keywords: Tsunami scenarios, Iquique, inundation area, cavancha peninsula
Iquique is an important city in northern Chile (20.2°S), not only due to its tourism and historical buildings, but also for its
commercial activities. As a matter of fact, Iquique is the most important port for goods from the Pacific Ocean to
southern Perú, Bolivia and Brazil. In addition, Iquique has one of the largest duty-free commercial areas in South
America (ZOFRI). Moreover, the cooper mining is and important industry in Iquique. In addition, the tourist activity take
place during the whole year due to weather conditions, therefore, the floating population with no or few knowledge on
earthquake and tsunami response could be significant and so could be the tsunami impact. In fact, most of death toll
during the 2010 Chile tsunami were tourists who did not live in coastal areas (Fritz et al, 2011).
On the other hand, since Iquique is located along the Chilean Coast, large earthquakes and tsunami have affected the
city. The last major event in the Arica-Tocopilla seismic region took place in 1877 with an estimated magnitude of 8.8.
The generated tsunami reached an inundation height of 5-6 m in Iquique (Soloviev and Go, 1975). Since then, the
accumulated energy was estimated to be enough to generate another Mw 8.8 earthquake (Chlieh et al 2011) along the
whole area from Ilo in Perú to Mejillones Paninsula in Chile (Aranguiz et al 2014). However, on April 2014, a large
magnitude earthquake took place. The magnitude of the earthquake was computed to be 8.1 (Yagi et al., 2014a; Lay et
al., 2014, Schurr et al., 2014) and other research indicates the magnitude was 8.2 (Hayes et al. 2014). Nevertheless, this
event released only about 20% of the total accumulated energy, therefore, a similar or even larger earthquake could
occur in the near future.
The official tsunami inundation map of Iquique has been developed by the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of
Chilean Navy (SHOA for its name in Spanish). This map considers the historical event of 1877 and the flow depth has
been estimated to be above 6m with maximum run up of 30 m in both ZOFRI and Cavancha areas
( Other tsunami scenarios have been proposed by Yagi et al
(2014b) as part of the JICA/SATREPS Project between Chile and Japan. These scenarios were based on the energy
budget available in the Arica-Tocopilla source region (Chlieh et al., 2011). A reassessment of tsunami hazard after the
Pisagua earthquake in April 2014 has been presented by Cienfuegos et al (2014). They proposed new tsunami scenarios
occurring to the north and south of the April event based on historical and geological information as well as GPS and
seismometer available data.
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress,
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
The present paper analyzes new information thus the unbroken area in the central segment is included in the tsunami
scenarios, thus three independent scenarios are proposed, namely, north, center and south. Then, the propagation and
inundation of the three scenarios as well as combination of them are estimated by means of numerical simulations with
NEOWAVE model and 5 nested grids with a highest grid resolution of 10 m. The second section gives a general
description of the seismic constraints and thus three possible future events are proposed. The third section deals with
the description of the numerical simulation and model set up, then section 4 presents the main results. Finally, the
section 5 states the main conclusions of this work.
Southern Peru and northern Chile areas, extended between 18ºS and 24°S, has been recognized as one of the most
interesting and important seismic gaps in the eastern Pacific basin. The area has not been affected by a major seismic
event since 1877, reaching a seismogenic potential equivalent to an earthquake of magnitude 8.8 Mw (Comte & Pardo,
1991; Chlieh et al., 2011; Metois et al, 2013; Béjar-Pizarro et al, 2013). The Mw 8.1 Pisagua earthquake which occurred
on April 1, 2014, has caused a partial breakdown of the gap generating a moderate tsunami (Hayes et al, 2014; Schurr
et al, 2014; An et al, 2014). Partial rupture of the gap left three segments with a deficit of slip of at least 8 meters each.
Therefore, in order to have a better tsunami hazard estimation in northern Chile, the seismogenic potential of these three
segments need to be reassessed.
The tsunamigenic events which occur in the Chilean continental margin have showed to have heterogeneous slip
distribution with patches of high slip. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that coseismic slip distribution correlates well
with high interseismic coupling (ISC) zones (Moreno et al, 2012). Therefore, we processed an ISC model generated by
Chlieh et al. (2011) to obtain a slip deficit distribution based on the definition of coupling in the given seismic gap as ISC
= ISSR/CV . In which ISC is the Interseismic coupling (%), ISSR is the Interseismic Slip Rate (cm/y) and CV:
Convergence velocity (cm/y). Then, to generate the tsunami source we used geological information such as (a) slab
depth distribution (SLAB1.0) (Hayes et al., 2012) and (b) strike, rake and dip angles (Global CMT catalog, Dziewonski et
al., 1981; Ekström et al., 2012). Finally, the slip distribution of the Pisagua earthquake given by Hayes et al (2014) was
subtracted to the central segment obtained from the ISC model. The slip distribution of the three segments are shown in
Figure 1.
Figure 1. Main tsunami scenarios proposed using ISCM
This section presents a general description of the model set up and the tsunami numerical model. The description
includes the nested grids, simulation time, validation of the model, tsunami initial conditions and tidal level.
3.1Numerical setting
The numerical simulations are done by means of the NEOWAVE model (Yamazaki et al., 2009, 2011), which is a twodimensional and depth integrated model that describes dispersive waves by means of non-hydrostatic pressure terms.
The model uses a Manning’s coefficient of n=0.025 to describe the ocean bottom. The computation covers 6 hours of
elapsed time with output time interval of 1 min. The model uses two-way nested grids in spherical coordinate system. In
this research, we defined 5 level of nested grids to model the tsunami from generation to inundation in Iquique city. The
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
five nested grids are shown in Figure 2. The Grid 1 is the east Pacific Ocean at a resolution of 2-arcmin (~3.6 km) to
cover the tsunami generation. An open boundary condition needs to be applied to radiate the tsunami away from Grid 1.
Grids 2 at 30-arcsec (~900 m), 3 at 6-arcsec (~180 m) and 4 at 1-arcsec (~30 m) are used to cover the propagation of
tsunami waves over the slope and continental shelf along the Chilean coast. The Grid 5 at 1/3-arcsec (~10 min) is used
to model the inundation at Iquique area. Two tide gauges are defined to study the tsunami behavior, one at the northern
part of the city, at the same location of the SHOA tide gauge, and another one front of Cavancha beach (See Figure 1).
Grid 1 is generated from GEBCO 08 ( while grids 2,
3, 4 and 5 used both nautical charts and local bathymetries provided by the Port Division (DOP) of the Ministry of Public
Works. The topography of the higher resolution grids was obtained from LiDAR data of 2 m resolution.
Figure 2. Five level of nested grids used in the numerical simulations. The yellow circles in Grid 5 indicate the location of the virtual tide gages,
one at the current tide gauge station (north) and other in front of Cavancha beach (south).
3.2Validation of the Model
The NEOWAVE model has been used to simulated tsunamis in Chile at a regional scale (Yamazaki and Cheung, 2011;
Aranguiz et al 2014) as well as local scale (Martinez et al, 2012) with an acceptable level of accuracy. Therefore, in order
to validate the model for future possible tsunami in Iquique Area, the Pisagua April 2014 earthquake was simulated
using the An et al. (2014) slip model with the same nested grids described above. The tsunami initial condition is shown
in Figure 3-a, while the recorded sea level variation as well as the simulated tsunami waveform are shown in Figure 3-b.
It is possible to see a good agreement between the recorded and simulated tsunami waves.
Figure 3. (a) Tsunami initial condition from An et al (2014) slip model. (b) Recorded and simulated tsunami waveform.
3.3Tsunami scenarios and initial condition
Since three segments were identified, it is possible to define several tsunami scenarios as a combination of them. For
example, it is possible that only one segment breaks, or two or the three segments break at the same time. Table 1
shows the possible scenarios considered in the following analysis. It is assumed that the north and south segments do
not break together without breaking the central segment.
Table 1. Proposed tsunami scenarios for Arica-Tocopilla seismic gap.
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress,
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The tsunami initial conditions for all tsunami scenarios were determined by means of superposition of Okada (1985)
formulation. Figure 4 shows the tsunami initial condition corresponding to the scenarios 1, 2, 3 and 6.
Figure 4. Tsunami initial conditions of four proposed scenarios given in Table 1. (a) Scenario 1, (b) Scenario (2), (c) Scenario 3 and (d)
Scenario 6.
3.4 Tide Level
The tide level at Iquique is characterized by a mixed semidiurnal cycle with a maximum tidal range of approximately 1.5
m and a maximum level of 0.8 m above the mean sea level, as seen in Figure 5. Preliminary numerical simulations
demonstrated that low areas behind natural embankment in ZOFRI area could easily be inundated when tsunami waves
overtopped the dikes. Therefore, the tsunami numerical simulation considered a tide level of 0.8 m in order to define a
conservative scenario.
Figure 5. Tidal variation at Iquique during August 2014.
4.1Future possible tsunamis
Figure 6 shows the flow depth in the Iquique area for the same scenarios given in Figure 4. It is possible to see that the
North and South scenarios (See Figure 6 (a) and (c), respectively) do not generate significant inundation to the city, and
only affect the Port, Caleta Riquelme and Cavancha beach. On the contrary, the center scenario generated a larger
inundation area which affected not only the port but also the whole ZOFRI area and Cavancha Peninsula. In a similar
manner, the combination of all scenarios demonstrated to have the largest inundation. The inundation area given by the
scenarios 4 and 5 (not shown) have a bit larger inundations than the scenario 2 (Center segment) and smaller than the
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
scenario 6, which implies that most of the inundation is due to the central segment. From these results, it is possible
consider that the scenario 6 corresponds to the worst case scenario and it will be analyzed in more detail for both ZOFRI
and Cavancha areas in the following paragraphs.
Figure 6. Results of tsunami inundation in Iquique given by several tsunami escenarios: a) North segment b) Central segment, c) South
segment d) North+center+south segments.
Figure 7 shows a close up of the ZOFRI area under the worst case scenario. While the left frame shows the maximum
flow depth, the right frame shows a map of the tsunami arrival time. It is possible to see that the inundation area could
reach up to 3 m flow depth at the center part of ZOFRI. The inundated area is approximately 760.000 m2 and covers
almost 50% of the total ZOFRI area which is also the area where the Zofri Mall is situated. The mall is visited daily by
approximately 10.000 people and is assumed to have the highest density of people in ZOFRI. In terms of runup the
modelled results of the worst case scenario gives a maximum runup of 4,7 m. Since the ZOFRI area has a natural
embankment along the coastline that protects the lower lying hinterland from flooding till a certain threshold, this creates
a ’bathtub’ effect. The height of the embankment varies along the coastline between 3 to 4 m around the COPEC oil
storage and 4.4 m in the central part. The arrival times, plotted in Figure 7, show darker colors around the COPEC oil
storage which is in agreement with the lower embankment at that point, the water breaches the embankment here first.
At this breaching point the embankment is over topped with 1 m of water. It is believed that when the wave starts to
overtop the embankment it is already retreating, so the height of the flowing water over the embankment will be lower
than the actual maximum wave height just in front of the embankment. In the case of a tsunami with a smaller wave
height it could be possible that the embankment is able to retain the water, however in that case the runup against the
embankment should be taken into account. The analysis of the time-evolution of the inundation demonstrated that the
first wave reaches the embankment after 19 minutes, after that it takes approximately four minutes to inundate the area.
It was also found that the first wave is not the highest and after 115 minutes an even bigger wave will approach the Zofri
bay which will breach the embankment for the second time. According to the model the water reaches the parking area
of the Zofri Mall within 22 minutes after the earthquake, after 23 minutes the water level starts to increases to 2 m
around the Zofri Mall in a period of approximately 7 minutes. In total, it will take approximately 60 minutes before the
Zofri Mall is completely inundated till the highest level. Due to the inundation (flow depth and flow velocity) lose objects
like cars can be picked up and accelerated by the streaming water, this cloud lead to high debris forces on structures, in
addition, evacuation areas could be blocked by tsunami debris.
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress,
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Figure 7. Tsunami impact on ZOFRI area for scenario 6 (Mw=8.75). Left pane is the flow depth, right pane is the tsunami arrival time.
Figure 8 shows the inundation and tsunami arrival time in Cavancha area. It is possible to see that the peninsula is
subjected to significant inundation and one of the main problems is the cut-off of the evacuation routes from the
peninsula to higher ground. The inundation reached up to 500 m inland. The total inundation area is approximately
700,000 m2. According to the numerical simulations, the maximum flow depth is 5 meters and will occur at the waterline
on the Cavancha beach. Around the North side of the beach also the first few rows of residential building will be flooded
with maximum flow depths in the order of 1.5 m. At the main road along the coast (Av. Arturo Prat Chacón) maximum
flow depths of 3,5 m are found. Also the Casino, in the area between the Cavancha beach and the roundabout will be
inundated with 2.5 m flow depth. According to the inundation maps and the topography the pedestrian road along the
Cavancha beach seems to be the highest tracing in the area because it has a lower flow depth then the neighbouring
road and beach. Since the beach is mostly crowded with people the impact could be high in terms of the criterion lossof-life. At the Northern edge of the peninsula the water pills up against the steep rocks, here flow depth varies between 2
and 2.5 m. The Southern side of the peninsula is less inundated compared to the Northern side. Here flow depths of 0.5
m are found. More to the South, at the Playa Brava area, the maximum flow depth reached up to 2.5 m. Due to the
increased height of the road the water does not reach the hinterland and inundates only the beach.
Figure 8 on flow depth and arrival time for scenario 4 at Zofri, figure 1.4 in report (Teun)
Figure 9 shows a snapshot of the tsunami inundation to show the impact of the first and the second tsunami waves. The
first wave enters the Playa Cavancha 17 min after the earthquake and closes the peninsula for evacuation after 21 min,
so within 5 minutes the entire peninsula is cut off. The second wave arrives approximately 7 minutes later and inundates
an even larger area and the maximum inundation area is reached 5 min later. In total it takes approximately 10 minutes
to inundate the whole area. Analysing Figure 9, it can be concluded that the largest waves approached the peninsula
from the Cavancha beach in the North. From a physical point of view this can be understood by the shoaling effect due
to decreasing water depths in the Cavancha bay, this effect increases the wave height. In combination with diffraction
and refraction as well as the lower lying Southern part of the beach, the water is forced and concentrated towards the
most Southern part of the Cavancha beach. Here it will flow onshore towards the casino and the roundabout after which
it flows over the peninsula to the Southern side. The bay acts like a funnel which forces the water through one point. At
the Playa Brava on the South side of the peninsula, the beach is steeper and higher due to which it will not be as easily
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
inundated as the Playa Cavancha. In terms of runup, the modelled results of the worst case scenario gives a maximum
runup of 6.8 m in the Cavacha bay. During the incoming and retreating tsunami waves, high flow velocities can be found
on both beaches because there are no obstructions and they have a relative smooth flood plains. In the northern part of
the Cavancha beach, high flow velocities could be explained based on the funneling effect. Large flow velocities in
combination with the fact the largest wave is entering from the beach could lead to a large amount of sediment that is
transported into the city, especially since there are certain areas where flow velocities decrease rapidly or where the
topography is lower and there is the ability to trap the sediment. The high flow velocities make it likely to bring severe
damage to the buildings and infrastructure in the inundated area. Cars and other loose objects can be picked up by
these currents generating large impact forces on buildings. Another consequence of the high flow velocities are scour
problems which could lead to other types of failure mechanisms of structures and buildings.
Figure 9. Snapshots of tsunami inundation of scenario 6 during the first 28 min after the earthquake.
During the tsunami event the peninsula is closed off within only 21 minutes after the earthquake. The main evacuation
routes which connect the peninsula with the main land will be severely damaged due to high flow velocities and flow
depth in this area. With regards to post-event consequences, the cut-off could be a problem for emergency services to
reach people who are trapped on the peninsula or around the higher buildings. In addition, it is recommended to analyze
the feasibility of implementing the tsunami evacuation buildings. Another possible hazard in terms of post-event
disruption in Cavancha is the possible environmental damage due to a gas station that is situated at the Southern side
of the main avenue. Moreover, the gas station is situated such that the water will flow back into the ocean by a natural
gradient, therefore, the pollution could be significant and mitigation measures should be proposed.
4.2Effect of different tsunami initiation times
Up to now, all scenarios resulted from a combination of different segments (scenarios 4, 5 and 6) considered the same
initiation time for all segments. However, the rupture process not always take place at the same time, therefore, this
section investigates the effect of possible initiation time differences. The analysis is focused on Cavancha Peninsula,
since it demonstrated to have large flow depths and short tsunami arrival times. To do this, we first analyzed the
feasibility of linear superposition of scenarios 1, 2 and 3. Figure 10-a shows the tsunami waveforms of the scenarios 1, 2
and 3 corresponding to the north, center and south segments, respectively (See Table 1). While Figure 10-b shows the
comparison of numerical simulation of scenarios 6 with the superposition of the three previously mentioned scenarios. It
is possible to observe that the behavior is almost linear during the first 150 min and the maximum tsunami amplitude is
the same. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the superposition of independent scenarios with an initiation time lag
gives acceptable results.
Several possible (and realistic) combinations were tested, and the maximum tsunami amplitude was found to be the
superposition of the scenario 3 and 2 with a time lag of 55 min, i.e., the segment 3 breaks at t=0 and the segment 2 at
t=55 min. The results of this scenarios is plotted in Figure 11. While the upper pane shows the tsunami waveforms for
two independent scenarios including the time lag, the lower pane shows the superposition of the two scenarios. For
comparison, the lower frame also shows the superposition of these scenarios without a time lag (magenta). The
maximum tsunami amplitude now reaches up to 6.5 m, which is larger than the tsunami amplitude given by the scenario
6, (the three segments breaking at the same time). Therefore, the tsunami generated by the main shock of a given
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress,
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
earthquake could not generated the most significant inundation, but the superposition of tsunami waves generated by
different tsunami source areas with different initiation time.
Figure 10. (a) Tsunami waveforms at Cavancha for the three independent scenarios. (b) Comparison of tsunami waveforms at Cavancha for
scenario 6 with superposition of the three independent segments.
Figure 11. (a) Tsunami waveforms of scenarios 2 and 3 (b) Superposition of scenarios 2 and 3 with a time lag.
Several tsunami scenarios were defined based on the interseismic coupling and the last major event in 2014, thus three
different segments, namely, north, center and south were proposed. It was found that the maximum inundation is
obtained for a scenario which combines the three segments breaking at the same time. The maximum inundation could
generate a flow depth up to 5m, which is large enough to affect most of the important commercial areas of Iquique, thus
the economic activity could be seriously damaged. Furthermore, it was observed that the inundation can also occur on
both sides of the Cavancha peninsula, thus transforming the peninsula into an island. Subsequently, evacuations routes
would not be safe and thus the use of Tsunami Evacuation Buildings should be studied in the future. In addition, it was
observed that other tsunami scenarios which consider different initiation times of each segment could generate even
E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress
28 June – 3 July, 2015, The Hague, the Netherlands
larger inundation, therefore, it is recommended to consider superposition of tsunami waves generated by different
tsunami source areas.
The authors would like to thank the National Research Center for Integrated Natural Disaster and Management
(CIGIDEN) CONICYT/FONDAP/15110017 as well as the JICA/SATREPS Project “Enhancement of Technology for
Development of Tsunami Resilient Communities” for the high resolution topography data provided. The authors also
thanks the Port Division (DOP) of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) for providing detail bathymetry data. Finally, a
special thanks to the companies DIMI, Dyneema, Royal Haskoning DHV and Van Oord, who partially funded this
research and made possible the Master of Science Multidisciplinary Project: “Assesssment and Mitigation Proposal in
case of Major tsunami impact: How to reduce the impact of a tsunami in Iquique, Chile”.
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E-proceedings of the 36th IAHR World Congress,
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