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Coastal sedimentation associated with the Tohoku tsunami of 11 March 2011 in South Kuril Islands, NW Pacific Ocean
Razjigaeva, N.G.; Ganzey, L.A.; Grebennikova, T.A.; Ivanova, E.D.; Kharlamov, A.A.; Shishkin, A.A. (2013). Coastal sedimentation associated with the Tohoku tsunami of 11 March 2011 in South Kuril Islands, NW Pacific Ocean. Pure Appl. Geophys. 170(6-8): 1081-1102.
In: Pure and Applied Geophysics. Birkhäuser: Basel. ISSN 0033-4553, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Diatoms; Grain size; Tsunamis; Foraminifera [WoRMS]; Pacific Ocean I.; Marine
Author keywords
    Tsunami deposits; Benthic foraminifera; South Kurils

Authors  Top 
  • Razjigaeva, N.G.
  • Ganzey, L.A.
  • Grebennikova, T.A.
  • Ivanova, E.D.
  • Kharlamov, A.A.
  • Shishkin, A.A.

    >Sediment deposited by the Tohoku tsunami of March 11, 2011 in the Southern Kurils (Kunashir, Shikotan, Zeleniy, Yuri, Tanfiliev islands) was radically different from sedimentation during local strong storms and from tsunamis with larger runup at the same location. Sediments from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami were surveyed in the field, immediately and 6 months after the event, and analyzed in the laboratory for sediment granulometry, benthos Foraminifa assemblages, and diatom algae. Run-up elevation and inundation distance were calculated from the wrackline (accumulations of driftwood, woody debris, grass, and seaweed) marking the distal edge of tsunami inundation. Run-up of the tsunami was 5 m at maximum, and 3–4 m on average. Maximum distance of inundation was recorded in river mouths (up to 630 m), but was generally in the range of 50–80 m. Although similar to the local strong storms in runup height, the tsunami generally did not erode the coast, nor leave a deposit. However, deposits uncharacteristic of tsunami, described as brown aleuropelitic (silty and clayey) mud rich in organic matter, were found in closed bays facing the South Kuril Strait. These closed bays were covered with sea ice at the time of tsunami. As the tsunami waves broke the ice, the ice floes enhanced the bottom erosion on shoals and destruction of low-lying coastal peatland even at modest ranges of runup. In the muddy tsunami deposits, silt comprised up to 64 % and clay up to 41.5 %. The Foraminifera assemblages displayed features characteristic of benthic microfauna in the near-shore zone. Deep-sea diatoms recovered from tsunami deposits in two closely situated bays, namely Krabovaya and Otradnaya bays, had different requirements for environmental temperature, suggesting these different diatoms were brought to the bays by the tsunami wave entraining various water masses when skirting the island from the north and from the south.

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