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

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Ocal Necmioglu, Takeo Ishibe, Ahmet C. Yalciner

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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 ~ 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 ~ 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalGeoscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MH prepared the initial draft, conducted tsunami simulations and spectral analysis, and produced relevant figures and texts. ON critically analyzed the response from various Tsunami Service Providers (TSPs), prepared the two tables, and wrote “Response from tsunami warning systems and discussions ”. TI performed aftershocks analysis, produced Fig. 2 , and wrote the relevant texts. ACY provided critical insights for the tsunami source, peak tsunami coastal amplitudes, wave motions, and the performance of the TSPs. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The manuscript benefited from constructive comments by Prof. Kenji Satake (Editor-in-Chief) before submission for which we are sincerely grateful. MH thanks Dr. Gerassimos A. Papadopoulos (National Observatory of Athens, Greece) for fruitful discussions on this event during the 2017 International Tsunami Symposium in Bali, Indonesia. The authors would also like to thank all of the organizations mentioned in the “Availability of data and materials” section, which provided the data and information used in this study. The manuscript benefited from review comments made by three reviewers appointed by the journal (Dr. Stefano Lorito and two anonymous reviewers) for which we are sincerely grateful. The authors declare that they have no competing interests. IOC sea level monitoring facility ( was used for the tide gauge records. Data providers are General Command of Mapping for Bodrum (Turkey) and Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service for Syros (Greece) tide gauge stations. Aftershocks data are from the catalog provided by AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, Earthquake Department, Government of Turkey) ( We also used Generic Mapping Tools (Wessel and Smith 1998) for drawing figures ( Not applicable. MH is grateful to the Brunel University London for the funding provided through the Brunel Research Initiative and Enterprise Fund 2017/18 (BUL BRIEF). Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Funding Information:
MH is grateful to the Brunel University London for the funding provided through the Brunel Research Initiative and Enterprise Fund 2017/18 (BUL BRIEF).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).


  • Bodrum
  • Earthquake
  • Kos
  • Mediterranean sea
  • Tsunami
  • Tsunami early warning
  • Tsunami service providers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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