Complex Rupture of the 2015 Mw 8.3 Illapel Earthquake and Prehistoric Events in the Central Chile Tsunami Gap

Gabriel Easton; José González?Alfaro; Angelo Villalobos; Gabriel Álvarez; Diego Melgar; Sergio Ruiz; Bernardo Sepúlveda; Manuel Escobar; Tomás León; Juan Carlos Báez; Tatiana Izquierdo; Maximiliano Forch; Manuel Abad


On 16 September 2015, the Mw 8.3 Illapel megathrust earthquake broke the subduction contact of the Nazca plate beneath the South American plate, causing unexpectedly high tsunami waves that strongly impacted the coast along the Coquimbo region in central–northern Chile. Here, we report results from a postearthquake and tsunami survey, evidencing a complex coastal geological response driven by the near coast and near trench seismic patches that ruptured during this event. Systematically, high tsunami run‐ups, up to 10–11 m a.s.l., were measured on the western coast of the Punta Lengua de Vaca Peninsula in front of the near trench rupture patch, whereas tsunami run‐ups up to 5–6 m were measured close to the near coast rupture patch. Detailed measurements conducted in the Coquimbo area revealed tsunami run‐ups systematically higher than 6–6.5 m and up to 7.8 m. Field observations of bleached coralline algae supported by ulterior laboratory experiences were compared with geodetic measurements that evidenced complex and variable alongshore uplift‐subsidence responses of the coast, suggesting a relative consistency with respect to its modern geomorphological configuration. From the analysis of pit dug in the Tongoy area, which was strongly impacted by this last tsunami, we evaluated distinctive sandy layers with benthic foraminifera tests interbedded between alluvial fine sediments, which we interpreted as paleotsunami events dated before 1108 ± 77 C.E., shortly before 1346 ± 50 C.E., and approximately 1473 ± 37 C.E. In addition to the historical massive tsunamis that occurred in 1730, 1877, and 1922 C.E. in central and northern Chile, we interpreted prehistoric tsunamis revealed here as events triggered by large megathrust earthquake ruptures, evidencing the high exposition of these coasts to near fields as well as to distant tsunamis produced along the Chilean subduction margin but also in the pan‐Pacific region.

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Volumen: 93(3)
Fecha de publicación: 2022
Página de inicio: 1479
Página final: 1496
Idioma: English