EGU22-9383, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Spread tsunami impact in East Tunisia contemporaneous of the CE 365 Crete earthquake

Nejib Bahrouni1, Mustapha Meghraoui2, Hafize Başak Bayraktar3, Stefano Lorito4, Mohamed Fawzi Zagrarni5, Alina Polonia6, Nabil Bel Mabrouk7, Mohamed Kamoun8, Afef Khadraoui8, and Fekri Kamoun8
Nejib Bahrouni et al.
  • 1Office National des Mines, Tunis, Tunisia (
  • 2Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ITES UMR 7063, Strasbourg F-67084, France (
  • 3Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Italy
  • 4Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Rome, Italy
  • 5Institut Supérieur des Sciences et Techniques des Eaux, de Gabès, Tunisia
  • 6ISMAR-CNR (Istituto di Scienze Marine), Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
  • 7Institut National du Patrimoine, Tunis, Tunisia
  • 8Faculté des sciences de Sfax, université de Sfax,Tunisia

New field investigations along the East Tunisian coastline reveal sedimentary deposits and damaged localities that may account for a catastrophic event during late Holocene. North of Sfax - Thyna city (at Henchir El Majdoul site) ~3.4 m high cliff coastal marine and alluvial terraces show a 20 to 50-cm-thick chaotic layer with sandy coarse gravels mixed with limestone beach-rocks, reworked blocks, broken shells of marine and lagoon gastropods and lamellibranch mollusks, organic matter, and Roman pottery. The chaotic layer truncates a succession of sandy-silty paleosol, covers Roman settlements and is overlain by fire remains and a relatively thin (~10 cm) sandy-silty aeolian unit and ~1-m-thick alluvial deposits. Charcoal samples collected at 10 cm below and 4 cm above the catastrophic deposits provide radiocarbon dating that brackets a catastrophic event between 286 and 370 CE (2s). Beside the damaged Roman site of Thyna, other localities of the east Tunisian coastline such as Neapolis (Nabeul) near Tunis, Hadrumete (Sousse), Meninx-town in Girba (Djerba), Wadi Ennouili (Gulf of Gabes), and Sabratha (in Libya) experienced major damage and abandonment of sites in Fifth century. The extent of damage from northern Libya to northern Tunisia at the Fourth century and radiocarbon dating, added to the 2.6 m thick turbidite deposits west of Malta correlate with the major tsunamigenic earthquake of 21 July 365 (Mw ~ 8) in west Crete (Greece). Numerical modelling of the tsunami caused by an earthquake in the Hellenic Arc subduction zone suggests more than 3.5 m high tsunami waves propagation affecting the Tunisia coastline, resulting in a run-up consistent with the stratigraphic evidence presented here. The catastrophic deposits, offshore-onshore correlations, archeological damage and modelling of tsunami waves suggest a new, higher-resolution, assessment of the tsunami hazard leading to a better estimate of tsunami risk on the eastern coast of Tunisia.

How to cite: Bahrouni, N., Meghraoui, M., Bayraktar, H. B., Lorito, S., Zagrarni, M. F., Polonia, A., Bel Mabrouk, N., Kamoun, M., Khadraoui, A., and Kamoun, F.: Spread tsunami impact in East Tunisia contemporaneous of the CE 365 Crete earthquake, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9383,, 2022.