Articles | Volume 15, issue 2
Research article
03 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 03 Feb 2015

Extreme sea events during the last millennium in the northeast of Morocco

O. Raji, L. Dezileau, U. Von Grafenstein, S. Niazi, M. Snoussi, and P. Martinez

Abstract. The Moroccan Mediterranean coast is located in one of the area's most vulnerable to extreme weather events or tsunami hazards. The objective of this research is to reconstruct the historical extreme submersion-event record using sea-induced deposits preserved in coastal lagoon. The Nador lagoon is the largest Moroccan lagoon (115 km2). It is located along the western Mediterranean, which has a high cyclogenetic character and is exposed to tsunamis from the Alboran Sea. The sandy barrier which separates the lagoon from the Mediterranean Sea is marked by much overwash, which indicate how intensely it has been exposed to the adverse sea events through history. Using the UWITEC© gravity coring platform, an undisturbed MC4.5 core (1.15 m long) was successfully sampled in the studied lagoon. To identify extreme sea events, a multi-proxy approach was applied combining sedimentological and geochemical data. Three paleoevents were identified; all of them are concentrated over the last 500 years, and the most recent event corresponds to the 1889 storm. For the others deposits, it is difficult to determine exactly their origin; however, the high frequency of storm events over the relevant period and the absence of historical tsunamis evidence is more in favor of the meteorological origin.

Final-revised paper