Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez Programa de Alerta y Mitigación Contra Maremotos de Puerto Rico FEMA (Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias)
(October 2000 to March 2003)
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We will now summarize each task, and present the most relevant results of each one.

TASK I. Preparation of tsunami flood maps for Puerto Rico and its island municipalities

This is an essential step to the development of effective hazard planning. Through inundation mapping we can assess the vulnerability of critical facilities such as schools, shelters, hospitals, fire stations, police stations, and critical infrastructure. It will also allow the citizens to know how vulnerable they are to this hazard. Critical, essential facilities should be safe-guarded against tsunami attack, or moved to safer ground. This type of hazard mapping was first started under the sponsorship of the Puerto Rico State Civil Defense, FEMA, and the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program (UPRSG). 

Details about the methodology used in this task can be found on this site under Project Reports. Two reports cover the details of the work done under this task. The report describing the seismology involved in determining the earthquake scenarios and fault parameters used to generate the tsunamis is titled “Mode of Faulting in the Local Zone of Puerto Rico”, by Dr. Victor Huerfano. The report describing the methodology used to perform the tsunami simulations is titled “Tsunami Coastal Flood Mapping for Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands”, together with 12 appendices, by Prof. Aurelio Mercado.

We will now briefly summarize the work involved in this task.

Seismology (by Victor Huerfano)

Microseismic Analysis

 The island of Puerto Rico is located in the Northeastern corner of the Caribbean plate, which is a transition region from almost normal subduction of the North American plate in the Lesser Antilles, to strike-slip motion west of Hispaniola. Current tectonic models of oblique subduction propose the motion to be partitioned among several fault systems. The main objective of this work was the characterization of local fault systems using data recorded by the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN). This characterization produced the basic parameters that control the tsunami tectonic generation: the earthquake magnitud (Mo), fault dimensions and rupture geometry. Rapid progress in the understanding the geologic and tectonic environment of the Puerto Rico region has been made during the past years (figure 3). Details of the seismogenic zones are being identified and the concept of a block for Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands has been established. However, there remain a number of fundamental questions. The two most important ones are the relationship between the seismicity and the geologic structures and the stress regime in relations to the tectonic processes in the Local Zone of Puerto Rico (LZPR).

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