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Block and boulder accumulations on the southern coast of Crete (Greece): evidence for the 365 CE tsunami in the Eastern Mediterranean

By
Sarah J. Boulton
Sarah J. Boulton
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK
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Michael R. Z. Whitworth
Michael R. Z. Whitworth
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UKAECOM, Plumer House, Tailyour Road, Plymouth, PL6 5DH, UK
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

The Eastern Mediterranean is one of the most seismically active regions in Europe. Crete, located in the centre of the Eastern Mediterranean, should experience tsunamis resulting from large magnitude earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. At three locations, boulders were observed that may relate to tsunami or storm events. At Lakki, the size of the boulders slightly favours a tsunami origin for deposition. By contrast, at Kommos, boulder size and geomorphology are consistent with storm parameters in the Mediterranean. The most compelling evidence for tsunami transport is found at Diplomo Petris, where a lithologically varied grouping of large boulders (≤690 t) is exposed at sea level. The calculated storm wave heights (15 m) required to transport the observed boulders significantly exceeds winter averages: therefore, these accumulations are interpreted as tsunami deposits. Radiocarbon dating of encrusting biological material was undertaken to constrain periods of boulder motion. Encrustations from Diplomo Petris and Lakki predate the 365 CE earthquake, suggesting that this event transported the largest boulders; the first time that boulder deposits have been identified on Crete from this tsunami. Therefore, these data are important for developing local and regional hazard assessments but also to inform numerical models of tsunami propagation in the Mediterranean.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Tsunamis: Geology, Hazards and Risks

E. M. Scourse
E. M. Scourse
MCM Environmental Services Ltd, UK
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N. A. Chapman
N. A. Chapman
University of Sheffield, UK
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D. R. Tappin
D. R. Tappin
British Geological Survey, UK
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S. R. Wallis
S. R. Wallis
Nagoya University, JapanUniversity of Tokyo, Japan
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The Geological Society of London
Volume
456
ISBN electronic:
9781786203373
Publication date:
January 01, 2018

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