JDR Vol.4 No.1 pp. 41-52
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2009.p0041


The 1755 Lisbon Tsunami: Tsunami Source Determination and its Validation

Angela Santos*, Shunichi Koshimura**, and Fumihiko Imamura**

*Centro de Geofisica de ’Evora, University of Evora, Rua Rom ao Ramalho, 59, 7000 ’Evora, Portugal

**Tsunami Engineering Laboratory, Disaster Control Research Center, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University

September 24, 2008
November 10, 2008
February 1, 2009
1755 Lisbon Tsunami, wave ray analysis, numerical model

The Lisbon Earthquake of November 1, 1755, one of the most catastrophic events that has ever occurred in Portugal, Spain, or Morocco, caused severe damage and many casualties. The tsunami generated by this earthquake is well documented in historical accounts, it was reported throughout the North Atlantic Ocean, as it reached not only Portugal, Spain, and Morocco, but also the Madeira and Azores Archipelagos, England, Ireland, and the Caribbean. In spite of the importance of this event, the source of the tsunami remains unknown. In this paper, the authors reevaluate some of the historical tsunami travel times obtained by previous authors. Based on these times, wave ray analysis is used to determine the location of the tsunami source area. These results, combined with turbidites obtained by previous authors at the Tagus and Horseshoe Abyssal Plains, lead to the conclusion that the source of the 1755 Lisbon Tsunami could be located in the area of the Gorringe Bank. Then, a hydrodynamic simulation is carried out with this area presupposed as the source. The numerical model results provide good agreement when compared with both historical and sedimental records. However, in the past, the Gorringe Bank has been dismissed as the source of this tsunami for several reasons. Therefore, these issues are discussed and discredited. As a consequence of all these facts, it can be concluded that the origin of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and Tsunami could be located in the area of the Gorringe Bank.

Cite this article as:
Angela Santos, Shunichi Koshimura, and Fumihiko Imamura, “The 1755 Lisbon Tsunami: Tsunami Source Determination and its Validation,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.4, No.1, pp. 41-52, 2009.
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