Geohazards Research Unit


Distinguishing tsunami and storm deposits affected by postdepositional processes – a multi-proxy approach (TSUNASTORM)

Grant by National Science Center, Poland No. 2020/37/B/ST10/03677

Principal Investigator: prof. Witold Szczuciński

Tsunami and storm flooding are among the most dangerous threats to low-lying coastal areas. The sedimentary deposits left by them are the key to provide hazard assessment and answer fundamental questions: is a particular part of the coastline subject to hazards? If so, how often do they occur and how far inland can the floods reach? However, there is currently no reliable way to distinguish between storm and tsunami deposits. Moreover, they are altered by post-depositional changes (e.g. erosion, soil processes).

Therefore, the key goals of the project are to determine post-depositional changes of tsunami deposits on the example of deposits left by the 2004 IOT disaster and by older tsunamis in Thailand); to apply a comprehensive multiproxy analysis for coasts where both tsunami and storm deposits are preserved (on the example of southern Portugal); and to test innovative molecular methods (ancient sedimentary DNA), which have the potential to become a key method for identifying tsunami and storm deposits. The research is also complemented by other methods – field studies, geomorphological, sedimentological, geochemical, micropaleontological, and mineralogical analyses. The project is carried out by a team of geologists, biologists and geneticists from the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań (Poland) and partners from Portugal, Switzerland, and Thailand.

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