Articles | Volume 12, issue 7
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2177–2192, 2012

Special issue: Tsunami impacts on- and offshore in the Andaman Sea region

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2177–2192, 2012

Research article 12 Jul 2012

Research article | 12 Jul 2012

Local inundation distances and regional tsunami recurrence in the Indian Ocean inferred from luminescence dating of sandy deposits in Thailand

D. Brill1, N. Klasen1, K. Jankaew2, H. Brückner1, D. Kelletat1, A. Scheffers3, and S. Scheffers4 D. Brill et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, Universität zu Köln, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln, Germany
  • 2Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand
  • 3Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University, Military Rd, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
  • 4MarineEcology Research Centre, Southern Cross University, Military Rd, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia

Abstract. The Holocene beach-ridge plain of Phra Thong Island (Ko Phra Thong, SW Thailand) provides sedimentary evidence of several palaeotsunamis, in addition to the deposit of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Due to poor preservation conditions, these palaeoevent layers are restricted to swales. Correlation across beach ridges, which is important e.g. to reconstruct inundation distances, remains a major challenge. A primary tool for establishing a precisely confined correlation of the sand sheets is the use of chronological data. Since the application of radiocarbon dating is limited by the scarcity of appropriate material, this study utilised optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of tsunamigenic quartz grains. Generally, the sediments showed favourable luminescence properties regarding signal intensity, dose recovery and thermal stability. Disturbances of the OSL signal due to partial bleaching were corrected using the minimum age model. At least three palaeoevents – being 490–550, 925–1035 and 1740–2000 yr old – were distinguished by dating the discontinuous sand sheets at four different sites. Besides this chronological framework, the OSL data provide the opportunity to correlate the discontinuous sand sheets between spatially separated sites within the same swale as well as across ridges. This allows for first estimates of inundation distances for the palaeotsunamis documented on Phra Thong Island. Furthermore, the two younger events overlap in age with contemporaneous tsunami and earthquake evidence from other coasts bordering the Indian Ocean.