The tsunami geomorphology of coastal dunes
- 1Australian Tsunami Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, NSW, Australia
- 2National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd., P.O. Box 8602, Christchurch, New Zealand
Abstract. An examination of the coastal geomorphology of bays along the Otago coastline, SE New Zealand, has identified a geomorphology consistent with tsunami inundation. A tsunami geomorphology consisting of a number of elements including dune pedestals, hummocky topography, parabolic dune systems, and post-tsunami features resulting from changes to the nearshore sediment budget is discussed. The most prominent features at Blueskin Bay are eroded pedestals although it is speculated that hummocky topography may be present in the bay. Tsunami geomorphology at Long Beach is more comprehensive with a marked association between pedestals and a hummocky topography. A full suite of potential geomorphological features however, is not present at either site. The type of features formed by a tsunami, and the ability to detect and interpret a tsunami geomorphology, hinges on the interaction between five key variables; sand availability, embayment type, nature of the coast, accumulation space, and landward environmental conditions. An appreciation of the geomorphic setting and history of a coast is therefore of fundamental importance when identifying what to look for and where to look for tsunami evidence. It is also important to realise that these features can also be formed by other processes.