We propose a procedure for uncertainty quantification in Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Analysis (PTHA), with a special emphasis on the uncertainty related to statistical modelling of the earthquake source in Seismic PTHA (SPTHA), and on the separate treatment of subduction and crustal earthquakes (treated as background seismicity). An event tree approach and ensemble modelling are used in spite of more classical approaches, such as the hazard integral and the logic tree. This procedure consists of four steps: (1) exploration of aleatory uncertainty through an event tree, with alternative implementations for exploring epistemic uncertainty; (2) numerical computation of tsunami generation and propagation up to a given offshore isobath; (3) (optional) site-specific quantification of inundation; (4) simultaneous quantification of aleatory and epistemic uncertainty through ensemble modelling. The proposed procedure is general and independent of the kind of tsunami source considered; however, we implement step 1, the event tree, specifically for SPTHA, focusing on seismic source uncertainty. To exemplify the procedure, we develop a case study considering seismic sources in the Ionian Sea (central-eastern Mediterranean Sea), using the coasts of Southern Italy as a target zone. The results show that an efficient and complete quantification of all the uncertainties is feasible even when treating a large number of potential sources and a large set of alternative model formulations. We also find that (i) treating separately subduction and background (crustal) earthquakes allows for optimal use of available information and for avoiding significant biases; (ii) both subduction interface and crustal faults contribute to the SPTHA, with different proportions that depend on source-target position and tsunami intensity; (iii) the proposed framework allows sensitivity and deaggregation analyses, demonstrating the applicability of the method for operational assessments.
Oxford University Press
on behalf of
The Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft (DGG) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).