Articles | Volume 12, issue 8
Research article
14 Aug 2012
Research article |  | 14 Aug 2012

Combining inland and offshore paleotsunamis evidence: the Augusta Bay (eastern Sicily, Italy) case study

A. Smedile, P. M. De Martini, and D. Pantosti

Abstract. Offshore and inland geological evidence for multiple tsunami inundations was found in the Augusta Bay area: (1) the main local historical tsunamis (1908, 1693, 1169), (2) two far-generated tsunamis (i.e. Crete 365 AD and Santorini, 3600 BP), and (3) seven unknown tsunamis). Average tsunami recurrence intervals from inland and offshore investigations of about 550 and 320 yr, respectively were obtained for the past 4 ka. The history of paleotsunamis from the marine record appears to be as complete as the historical one for the past millennium, yielding an average tsunami recurrence interval of 250 yr for the Augusta Bay. Geological data allow also estimating a minimum tsunami inundation distance of 530 m and a minimum run-up of 5 m. The marine record contains evidence for more paleotsunamis with respect to the inland one because of continuous sedimentation and better preservation of stratigraphy in the offshore with respect to coastal areas, which are commonly affected by intermittent-erosion and sedimentation and anthropic activities.

This work shows that the integration of geological and historical data can provide critical information regarding the extent and age of tsunamis of the past (e.g. inundation distance, age, and frequency), which is of immediate relevance for tsunami hazard assessment.