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The application of microtextural and heavy mineral analysis to discriminate between storm and tsunami deposits

By
Pedro J. M. Costa
Pedro J. M. Costa
1
Instituto Dom Luiz and Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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G. Gelfenbaum
G. Gelfenbaum
2
United States Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
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S. Dawson
S. Dawson
3
Department of Geography, University of Dundee, Tower Building, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK
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S. La Selle
S. La Selle
2
United States Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
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F. Milne
F. Milne
3
Department of Geography, University of Dundee, Tower Building, Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK
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J. Cascalho
J. Cascalho
1
Instituto Dom Luiz and Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
4
Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência (MUHNAC-UL), Rua da Escola Politécnica 56/58, 1250-102, Lisboa, Portugal
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C. Ponte Lira
C. Ponte Lira
1
Instituto Dom Luiz and Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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C. Andrade
C. Andrade
1
Instituto Dom Luiz and Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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M. C. Freitas
M. C. Freitas
1
Instituto Dom Luiz and Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
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B. Jaffe
B. Jaffe
2
United States Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, 400 Natural Bridges Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2018

Abstract

Recent work has applied microtextural and heavy mineral analyses to sandy storm and tsunami deposits from Portugal, Scotland, Indonesia and the USA. We looked at the interpretation of microtextural imagery (scanning electron microscopy) of quartz grains and heavy mineral compositions. We consider inundation events of different chronologies and sources (the AD 1755 Lisbon and 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis, the Great Storm of 11 January 2005 in Scotland, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012) that affected contrasting coastal and hinterland settings with different regional oceanographic conditions. Storm and tsunami deposits were examined along with potential source sediments (alluvial, beach, dune and nearshore sediments) to determine provenance.

Results suggest that tsunami deposits typically exhibit a significant spatial variation in grain sizes, microtextures and heavy minerals. Storm deposits show less variability, especially in vertical profiles. Tsunami and storm quartz grains had more percussion marks and fresh surfaces compared to potential source material. Moreover, in the studied cases, tsunami samples had fewer fresh surfaces than storm deposits.

Heavy mineral assemblages are typically site-specific. The concentration of heavy minerals decreases upwards in tsunamigenic units, whereas storm sediments show cyclic concentrations of heavy minerals, reflected in the laminations observed macroscopically in the deposits.

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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, Japan
University 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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