Geological indicators of large tsunami in Australia

Bryant, E.A., and Nott, J. (2001) Geological indicators of large tsunami in Australia. Natural Hazards, 24 (3). pp. 231-249.

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Abstract

Tsunami waves can produce four general categories of depositional and erosional signatures that differentiate them from storm waves. Combinations of items from these categories uniquely define the impact of palaeo-tsunami on the coastal landscape. The largest palaeo-tsunami waves in Australia swept sediment across the continental shelf and obtained flow depths of 15–20 m at the coastline with velocities in excess of 10 m -1. In New South Wales, along the cliffs of Jervis Bay, waves reached elevations of more than 80 m above sea-level with evidence of flow depths in excess of 10 m. These waves swept 10 km inland over the Shoalhaven delta. In northern Queensland, boulders more than 6 m in diameter and weighing 286 tonnes were tossed alongshore above cyclone storm wave limits inside the Great Barrier Reef. In Western Australia waves overrode and breached 60 m high hills up to 5 km inland. Shell debris and cobbles can be found within deposits mapped as dunes, 30 km inland. The array of signatures provide directional information about the origin of the tsunami and, when combined with radiocarbon dating, indicate that at least one and maybe two catastrophic events have occurred during the last 1000 years along these three coasts. Only the West Australian coast has historically been affected by notable tsunami with maximum run-up elevations of 4–6 m. Palaeo-tsunami have been an order of magnitude greater than this. These palaeo-tsunami are produced most likely by large submarine slides on the continental slope or the impact of meteorites with the adjacent ocean.

Item ID: 13352
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Australian coastline; depositional signatures; dump deposits; erosional signatures
ISSN: 1573-0840
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2012 02:35
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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