A probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment for the Makran subduction zone at the northwestern Indian Ocean

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Andrzej Kijko

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A probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment is performed for the Makran subduction zone (MSZ) at the northwestern Indian Ocean employing a combination of probability evaluation of offshore earthquake occurrence and numerical modeling of resulting tsunamis. In our method, we extend the Kijko and Sellevoll's (1992) probabilistic analysis from earthquakes to tsunamis. The results suggest that the southern coasts of Iran and Pakistan, as well as Muscat, Oman are the most vulnerable areas among those studied. The probability of having tsunami waves exceeding 5 m over a 50-year period in these coasts is estimated as 17.5%. For moderate tsunamis, this probability is estimated as high as 45%. We recommend the application of this method as a fresh approach for doing probabilistic hazard assessment for tsunamis. Finally, we emphasize that given the lack of sufficient information on the mechanism of large earthquake generation in the MSZ, and inadequate data on Makran's paleo and historical earthquakes, this study can be regarded as the first generation of PTHA for this region and more studies should be done in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-593
Number of pages17
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was partially supported by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. We are sincerely grateful to Prof. Costas Synolakis (Tsunami Research Group, University of Southern California, USA) for his detailed and constructive review of the manuscript before submission. We extend our sincere gratitude to Prof. Ahmet C. Yalciner (Ocean Engineering Research Group, Middle East Technical University, Turkey) for providing the TUNAMI-N2 code used for numerical modeling of tsunami. The first author also would like to especially thank Prof. Costas Synolakis for his constructive advice and invaluable help throughout his PhD on Makran tsunami hazard assessment. This manuscript benefited from detailed and constructive reviews by two anonymous reviewers. We are sincerely grateful to the reviewers for comments that improved this article.


  • Indian Ocean
  • Makran subduction zone (MSZ)
  • Numerical modeling
  • Probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment (PTHA)
  • Seismic hazard analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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