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A Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Assessment of the SW Pacific Nations
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The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004 and subsequent smaller events (off Nias in 2005, Java in 2006 and the Solomon Islands in 2007) have increased awareness among emergency management authorities throughout the Pacific of the need for more information regarding the hazard faced by Pacific nations from tsunami. Over the last few years the Australian Government has undertaken an effort to support regional and national efforts in the southwest Pacific to build capacity to respond to seismic and tsunami information. As part of this effort, Geoscience Australia has received support from AusAid to partner with the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) to assist Pacific countries in assessing the tsunami hazard faced by nations in the southwest Pacific. The tsunami threat faced by Pacific island countries consists of a complex mix of tsunami from local, regional and distant sources, whose effects at any particular location in the southwest Pacific are highly dependent on variations in seafloor shape between the source and the affected area. These factors make the design of an effective warning system for the southwest Pacific problematic, because so many scenarios are possible and each scenario’s impact on different islands is so varied. In order to provide national governments in the southwest Pacific with the information they need to make informed decisions about tsunami mitigation measures, including development of a warning system, a comprehensive hazard and risk assessment is called for. The aim of the report is to provide a probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment (PTHA) to SOPAC and AusAID to quantify the expected hazard for the SW Pacific nations. It follows a preliminary report of the tsunami hazard (Thomas et al, 2007) that was restricted to maximum credible tsunami events. In this report, the hazard will be reported in terms of tsunami amplitudes at locations offshore the nations included in this study, and the probabilities of experiencing these amplitudes.
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