Natural Hazards

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 569–576 | Cite as

The great 1787 Mexican tsunami

  • Francisco J. Núñez-CornúEmail author
  • Modesto Ortiz
  • John J. Sánchez
Original Paper


Tsunamis have proven to represent a significant hazard around the globe and there is increased awareness about their occurrence. The Pacific coast in southern México is no exception, because there is firm evidence of the effects of past large tsunamis. Here we present results from computer-aided modeling of the March 28, 1787-“San Sixto” earthquake and tsunami, and focus on the regions of Acapulco, Corralero, Jamiltepec, and Tehuantepec, located along the Guerrero-Oaxaca coast. The theoretical waveforms suggest wave heights in excess of 4 m and 18 m at specific locations in Acapulco and Corralero, respectively, and wave heights of at least 2 m at locations in Jamiltepec and Tehuantepec. From our modeling results and based on historical documents and the topography of the area, we conclude that these wave heights would have been sufficient to cause inundations that in the case of Acapulco were restricted to several meters inland, but in other areas like Corralero reached at least 6 km inland. Our results are consistent with published and unpublished damage reports that attest to the hazards associated with great earthquakes and tsunamis along the subduction zone in Mexico


Tsunami hazards Historical tsunami Tsunami wave height Tsunami modeling Southern Mexico 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco J. Núñez-Cornú
    • 1
    Email author
  • Modesto Ortiz
    • 2
  • John J. Sánchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Sismología y Volcanología de OccidenteCentro Universitario de la Costa, Universidad de GuadalajaraPuerto VallartaMexico
  2. 2.Dpto. de Oceanografía FísicaCentro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de EnsenadaEnsenadaMexico

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