Geophysical Research Letters

Field survey and numerical simulation of the 21 November 2004 tsunami at Les Saintes (Lesser Antilles)



[1] Although a few historical tsunamis have occurred in the Lesser Antilles region, their characteristics are poorly documented due to the ephemeral nature of the associated signatures. Recently, a tsunami was generated following a magnitude Mw 6.3 earthquake that occurred on 21 November 2004 between Guadeloupe and Dominica. This was one of the two largest historical earthquakes recorded in this area in the last century. A field survey allowed us to characterize the tsunami which affected Les Saintes, the southern coast of Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe) and northern Dominica. We used these data to constrain a numerical simulation of tsunami generation and propagation. The 21 November tsunami provides a unique opportunity to further constrain the models of brittle deformation in the back arc region proposed by previous tectonic investigations, to characterize the tsunami signatures and to improve regional hazards evaluation.