Bodrum-Kos (Turkey-Greece) Mw 6.6 earthquake and tsunami of 20 July 2017: a test for the Mediterranean tsunami warning system

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Heidarzadeh M., Necmioglu O., Ishibe T., YALÇINER A. C.

GEOSCIENCE LETTERS, vol.4, 2017 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s40562-017-0097-0
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Keywords: Mediterranean sea, Tsunami, Earthquake, Tsunami service providers, Tsunami early warning, Bodrum, Kos, CONNECTED SEAS, MAGNITUDE, PRESSURE, ALGERIA, MODEL, TIME, WAVE
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Various Tsunami Service Providers (TSPs) within the Mediterranean Basin supply tsunami warnings including CAT-INGV (Italy), KOERI-RETMC (Turkey), and NOA/HL-NTWC (Greece). The 20 July 2017 Bodrum-Kos (Turkey-Greece) earthquake (Mw 6.6) and tsunami provided an opportunity to assess the response from these TSPs. Although the Bodrum-Kos tsunami was moderate (e.g., runup of 1.9 m) with little damage to properties, it was the first noticeable tsunami in the Mediterranean Basin since the 21 May 2003 western Mediterranean tsunami. Tsunami waveform analysis revealed that the trough-to-crest height was 34.1 cm at the near-field tide gauge station of Bodrum (Turkey). Tsunami period band was 2-30 min with peak periods at 7-13 min. We proposed a source fault model for this tsunami with the length and width of 25 and 15 km and uniform slip of 0.4 m. Tsunami simulations using both nodal planes produced almost same results in terms of agreement between tsunami observations and simulations. Different TSPs provided tsunami warnings at 10 min (CAT-INGV), 19 min (KOERI-RETMC), and 18 min (NOA/HL-NTWC) after the earthquake origin time. Apart from CAT-INGV, whose initial Mw estimation differed 0.2 units with respect to the final value, the response from the other two TSPs came relatively late compared to the desired warning time of similar to 10 min, given the difficulties for timely and accurate calculation of earthquake magnitude and tsunami impact assessment. It is argued that even if a warning time of similar to 10 min was achieved, it might not have been sufficient for addressing near-field tsunami hazards. Despite considerable progress and achievements made within the upstream components of NEAMTWS (North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected seas Tsunami Warning System), the experience from this moderate tsunami may highlight the need for improving operational capabilities of TSPs, but more importantly for effectively integrating civil protection authorities into NEAMTWS and strengthening tsunami education programs.