Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Oportus M., Cienfuegos R., Urritia A., Aránguiz R., Catlaán P.A., Hube M. (2020)

Ex post analysis of engineered tsunami mitigation measures in the town of Dichato, Chile

Revista : Natural Hazards
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Due to Chile’s notorious and frequent seismic activity, earthquake- and tsunami-related studies have become a priority in the interest of developing effective countermeasures to mitigate their impacts and to improve the country’s resilience. Mitigation measures are key to accomplish these objectives. Therefore, this investigation adopts a tsunami damage assessment framework to evaluate the direct benefits of tsunami mitigation works implemented by the Chilean government in the town of Dichato in the aftermath of the 2010 tsunami. We perform an ex post analysis of the potential damage reduction produced by these works studying what would have been the consequences on the built environment if they were in place for the tsunami that hit this area after the Maule earthquake in February 27, 2010. We use state-of-the-art tsunami simulation models at high resolution to assess the reduction in tsunami intensity measures, which serve as input to evaluate the benefit from averted damage against the costs of the mitigation measures. The obtained results show a reduction in the flooded area and a delay in the arrival times for the first smaller tsunami waves, but a negligible damage reduction when confronted to the largest waves. In conclusion, the tsunami mitigation measures would not have been effective to reduce the impact of the tsunami generated by the Maule earthquake in the town of Dichato, but could have had a benefit in retarding the inundation of low-land areas for the first smaller tsunami waves. The latter suggests that these works might be useful to mitigate storm waves or tsunamis of much smaller scales than the one that hit central-south Chile in 2010.