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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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