Brill, D.; Pint, A.; Jankaew, K.; Frenzel, P.; Schwarzer, K.; Vött, A., and Brückner, H., 2014. Sediment transport and hydrodynamic parameters of tsunami waves recorded in onshore geoarchives.
In regions with a short historical tsunami record, the assessment of long-term tsunami risk strongly depends on geological evidence of prehistoric events. Whereas dating tsunami deposits is already well established, magnitude assessment based on remaining sedimentary structures is still a major challenge. In this study, two approaches were applied to deduce transport processes and hydrodynamic parameters of tsunami events from onshore deposits found in the coastal plain of Ban Bang Sak, SW Thailand: (1) The maximum offshore sediment source was determined using granulometry, geochemistry, mineralogy and foraminifera of the tsunamites, and reference samples from various marine and terrestrial environments, and (2) the onshore flow velocities and flow depths of associated tsunami waves were estimated by means of sedimentation modelling. In the case of the Indian Ocean tsunami (IOT) of 2004, modelled flow velocities of 3.7 to 4.9 m/s, modelled onshore flow depths of up to 5.5 m, and a sediment source from offshore areas shallower than a 45-m water depth—including littoral sediments transported as bedload and suspended load from the shallow subtidal zone—are in agreement with quotations based on survivor videos and posttsunami surveys. For a 500- to 700-year-old predecessor, comparable flow velocities and flow depths of 4.1 to 5.9 m/s and 4.0 to 7.5 m, respectively, were modelled, indicating a similar magnitude as the IOT 2004. Comparable values of maximum transport distance and depth of wave erosion were also found. In the case of three older tsunami candidates, dated to 1180 to 2000 cal BP, the deposits indicate partly similar source areas with water depths of less than 45 m and partly shallower source areas restricted solely to the beach. Whereas the former tsunamis are interpreted as events similar to 2004, the latter are more likely storms or tsunamis of a lower magnitude.