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Authors: Vuan, A.* 
Rovelli, A.* 
Mele, G.* 
Priolo, E.* 
Editors: Sousa Oliveira, C. 
Azevedo, J. 
Ribeiro, A. 
Title: Suboceanic Rayleigh Waves in the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake
Issue Date: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4020-8608-3
Keywords: ground motion
surface waves
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.04. Ground motion 
Abstract: Moderate-magnitude shallow earthquakes in the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of kilometres southwest of Lisbon, can generate efficient suboceanic Rayleigh waves (SRW) that are well recorded in Portugal. Here we compare moderate-size earthquakes recorded by seismic stations in Portugal with the Tyrrhenian Sea earthquakes recorded in peninsular Italy where SRW were recently observed. In spite of a different behaviour of high frequencies due to the different tectonic setting of the two areas, similar results are found in the intermediate-period range, suggesting that this effect, if extrapolated to a magnitude larger than 8, could be devastating at regional distance in terms of ground motion amplitude and duration. Through 1D models, we explore the hypothesis that the high level of destruction and the long duration of shaking felt during the Great 1755 Lisbon earthquake were caused by SRW. In this preliminary study, we check the role of critical model parameters. We find that duration and amplitude are largest when the average thickness of the water layer is 2 km and shear-wave velocity of the ocean floor is close to the speed of sound in the water. Both conditions are realistic for a source in the Atlantic Ocean, few hundreds of kilometres southwest of Lisbon. Moreover, the propagation of SRW at regional distances accounts for durations of more than ten minutes as the effect of a single large earthquake.
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