After an underwater earthquake occurs, rapid real-time assessment of earthquake parameters is important for emergency response related to infrastructure damage and, perhaps more exigently, for issuing warnings of the possibility of an impending tsunami. Since 2005, the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) has worked on the rapid quantification of earthquake magnitude and tsunami potential, especially for the Mediterranean area. This work includes quantification of earthquake size from standard moment tensor inversion, quantification of earthquake size and tsunamigenic potential using P waveforms, and calculation of an archive of readily accessible tsunami scenarios.
For the case of tsunami early warning for coastlines at regional distances (>100 kilometers) from a tsunamigenic earthquake, notification is required within 15 minutes after the earthquake origin time (OT) so that coastal communities can be warned. Currently, rapid assessment of the tsunami potential of an earthquake relies mainly on initial estimates of the earthquake location; depth; and moment, M0, or the corresponding moment magnitude, Mw.