Modelling Past Tsunamis in European Waters


Periañez, R., Abril, J. M., & Cortés, C. (2024). Modelling Past Tsunamis in European Waters. Prevention and Treatment of Natural Disasters, 3(1).


A research model to simulate the propagation of tsunamis caused by different mechanisms was developed in this paper. These mechanisms are submarine earthquakes, landslides and collapse of volcano calderas. The model is based upon the non-linear shallow-water hydrodynamic equations with horizontal viscosity and friction with the seabed. It also includes a flooding/drying algorithm. This model was tested by applying it to several past tsunamis and comparisons of results with available data and/or other models. The objective of this paper is to present a summary on the application of the model to historical tsunamis occurred in European waters: Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Caspian Sea. Additionally, two application examples on how the research model can be used to confront different candidate tsunami sources and to discard scenarios of catastrophic floodings initially attributed to tsunamis presented: the Santorini tsunami sequence and the flooding of the Gulf of Tartessos in SW Spain.


numerical mode earthquake landslide volcano calder tsunami European seas

Author Biographies

Raúl Periáñez is a PhD in Physics and senior researcher/lecturer at the School of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Seville. His research interests are numerical modelling of marine processes like tides and tsunami propagation and pollutant transport.
José María Abril is a Professor in the Department of Applied Physics in the University of Seville. His research interests are numerical modelling of marine processes like tides and tsunami propagation and pollutant transport, as well as other topics like sediment dating.
Carmen Cortés is a PhD in Mathematics and senior researcher/lecturer at the School of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Seville. She has been teaching Mathematics in this degree since 1998. Her research interests are computational geometry and numerical simulation.


  • A research hydrodynamic model, suitable for tsunami modelling, is described.
  • Applied to past tsunamis caused by earthquakes, submarine landslides and volcano caldera collapses in Europe.
  • Results compared with (limited) available data and/or previous models for historical tsunamis.
  • Other applications of research models are described, as discarding scenarios of catastrophic floods attributed to tsunamis.


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