Development and application of a tsunami fragility curve of the 2015 tsunami in Coquimbo, Chile

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The last earthquake that affected the city of Coquimbo took place in September 2015 and had a magnitude of Mw = 8.3, resulting in localized damage in low-lying areas of the city. In addition, another seismic gap north of the 2015 earthquake rupture area has been identified; therefore, a significant earthquake (Mw = 8.2 to 8.5) and tsunami could occur in the near future. The present paper develops a tsunami fragility curve for the city of Coquimbo based on field survey data and tsunami numerical simulations. The inundation depth of the 2015 Chile tsunami in Coquimbo was estimated by means of numerical simulation with the Non-hydrostatic Evolution of Ocean WAVEs (NEOWAVE) model and five nested grids with a maximum grid resolution of 10m. The fragility curve exhibited behavior similar to that of other curves in flat areas in Japan, where little damage was observed at relatively high inundation depths. In addition, it was observed that Coquimbo experienced less damage than Dichato (Chile); in fact, at an inundation depth of 2m, Dichato had a  ∼ 75% probability of damage, while Coquimbo proved to have only a 20% probability. The new fragility curve was used to estimate the damage by possible future tsunamis in the area. The damage assessment showed that  ∼ 50% of the structures in the low-lying area of Coquimbo have a high probability of damage in the case of a tsunami generated off the coast of the study area if the city is rebuilt with the same types of structures.


  • Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences

    Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 18(8), 2143-2160, 2018-08

    Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union.


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