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Tsunami deposits in the western Mediterranean: remains of the 1522 Almerı́a earthquake?

By
Klaus Reicherter
Klaus Reicherter
Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards, RWTH Aachen University, Lochnerstr. 4-20, 52056 Aachen, Germany
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Peter Becker-Heidmann
Peter Becker-Heidmann
Institut für Bodenkunde, Universität Hamburg, Allende-Platz 2, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
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Published:
January 01, 2009

Abstract

Shallow drilling in the lagoon of the Cabo de Gata area proved sedimentary evidence for a palaeo-tsunami along that part of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Several coarse-grained intervals form fining-up and thinning-up sequences that are interpreted as tsunamites. Inland-extending sand sheets are used to identify tsunamigenic inundations. Other indicative features found are erosive bases, rip-up clasts, broken shells of bivalves and benthic/planktic foraminifera. The coarse-grained intervals consist of up to three sequences separated from each other by a silty mud drape. These intervals are interpreted as deposits of a tsunami train and correspond to three individual waves. Radiocarbon dating reveals evidence that these layers can be ascribed to deposition during the 1522 Almerı́a earthquake.

The 1522 Almerı́a earthquake (M>6.5) affected large areas in the western Mediterranean and caused more than 1000 casualties. The epicentral area was offshore in the Gulf of Almerı́a (southern Spain) along the Carboneras Fault Zone and seismic shaking triggered submarine slides in the Gulf of Almerı́a, which may have caused tsunami waves.

We have also found another intercalation of tsunamites downhole, which are interpreted as either an expression of repeated earthquake activity or tsunami-like waves induced by submarine slides triggered by seismic shaking in the Gulf of Almerı́a. Our evidence suggests a definite tsunami potential and hazard for offshore active and seismogenic faults in the western Mediterranean region.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment

K. Reicherter
K. Reicherter
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
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A. M. Michetti
A. M. Michetti
Università dell’Insubria, Italy
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P. G. Silva
P. G. Silva
Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
316
ISBN electronic:
9781862395640
Publication date:
January 01, 2009

GeoRef

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