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Journal Articles Natural Hazards Year : 2010

The 1979 nice airport tsunami: mapping of the flood in Antibes


On 16 October 1979, a tsunami of a local origin hits the French Riviera around Nice, France, killing 8 people and generating important economic losses. Its impact was felt from Hyères to Menton, France. The main effect of this tsunami was flooding in the neighborhoods of La Salis and La Garoupe, Antibes, France. A synthesis of unpublished reports written in the context of an administrative investigation was conducted. Various archives were also consulted (newspapers, fire and rescue unit reports, insurance reports, etc.), and a field survey was organized in 2009 to record testimonies from the inhabitants who witnessed the flood in La Salis, Antibes, the area where the effects of the tsunami were the greatest. A geo-database of the neighborhood of La Salis was built using available aerial imagery, land cover data and digital terrain models, to reconstruct the surface of the flooded area as it was in 1979 and as it is now. Comparing precise testimonies and the 1979 topographic information available allowed the authors to precisely map the flood and to deduce the runup values which reached 3.5 m locally, with a maximal distance of flooding of 150 m inland. This paper provides modelers with precious information about the extent of flooding and the time sequence in order to reconstitute the propagation and flooding of the 16 October 1979 tsunami. This information highlights the fact that the French Riviera is a low hazard, but high vulnerability area.

Dates and versions

hal-01239651 , version 1 (08-12-2015)



Alexandre Sahal, Anne Lemahieu. The 1979 nice airport tsunami: mapping of the flood in Antibes. Natural Hazards, 2010, 56 (3), pp.833--840. ⟨10.1007/s11069-010-9594-6⟩. ⟨hal-01239651⟩
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