Geophysical Research Letters

Size distribution of submarine landslides and its implication to tsunami hazard in Puerto Rico



[1] We have established for the first time a size frequency distribution for carbonate submarine slope failures. Using detailed bathymetry along the northern edge of the carbonate platform north of Puerto Rico, we show that the cumulative distribution of slope failure volumes follows a power-law distribution. The power-law exponent of this distribution is similar to those for rock falls on land, commensurate with their interpreted failure mode. The carbonate volume distribution and its associated volume-area relationship are significantly different from those for clay-rich debris lobes in the Storegga slide, Norway. Coupling this relationship with tsunami simulations allows an estimate of the maximum tsunami runup and the maximum number of potentially damaging tsunamis from landslides to the north shore of Puerto Rico.