Articles | Volume 1, issue 4
Special issue:
31 Dec 2001
31 Dec 2001

Historical and paleo-tsunami deposits on Kamchatka, Russia: long-term chronologies and long-distance correlations

T. K. Pinegina and J. Bourgeois

Abstract. Along the eastern coast of Kamchatka, at a number of localities, we have identified and attempted to assign ages to deposits of both historic and prehistoric (paleo-) tsunamis. These deposits are dated and correlated using tephrochronology from Holocene marker tephra and local volcanic ash layers. Because the historical record of earthquakes and tsunamis on Kamchatka is so short, these investigations can make important contributions to evaluating tsunami hazards. Moreover, because even the historical record is spotty, our work helps add to and evaluate tsunami catalogues for Kamchatka. Furthermore, tsunami deposits provide a proxy record for large earthquakes and thus are important paleoseismological tools. The combined, preserved record of tsunami deposits and of numerous marker tephra on Kamchatka offers an unprecedented opportunity to study tsunami frequency. Using combined stratigraphic sections, we can examine both the average frequency of events for each locality, and also changes in frequency through time. Moreover, using key marker tephra as time lines, we can compare tsunami frequency and intensity records along the Kamchatka subduction zone. Preliminary results suggest real variations in frequency on a millennial time scale, with the period from about 0 to 1000 A.D. being particularly active at some localities.

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