A geochemical approach for identifying marine incursions: Implications for tsunami geology on the Pacific coast of northeast Japan

Takahiro Watanabe, Noriyoshi Tsuchiya, Shin ichi Yamasaki, Yuki Sawai, Norihiro Hosoda, Fumiko W. Nara, Toshio Nakamura, Takeshi Komai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Potential tsunami inundation areas can be predicted by the distribution of paleo tsunami deposits on land, which are mainly composed of marine-derived sands and muds. These exotic sandy and muddy layers have been identified by multiple approaches. However, there still remain uncertainties regarding the sources and weathering trends over the long term, and other useful proxies need to be investigated to identify of tsunami deposits. We examined the geochemical signatures of modern tsunami deposits from the Pacific coast of northeast Japan (2011 Tohoku tsunami) and those paleo tsunami deposits taken from the Tohoku District (Jogan, ~1080 calibrated ages before present [cal BP] and Yayoi, ca. 2000 cal BP). A geochemical ternary diagram (Seawater-Rock-(As + Metals)) showed the weathering trends of tsunami deposits over approximately 2000 years in the Sendai plain in the Tohoku. In the tsunami layers from the Tohoku, the Na/Ti atomic ratios markedly increased to 23.4 with an average value of 19.3 ± 3.0 (Jogan and Yayoi tsunami deposits), which was clearly higher than those of other layers (soil deposits, 10.3 ± 3.5 on average). These results show that Na/Ti ratios and other geochemical proxies are useful indicators of marine incursions in our case, and may contribute to the detection of muddy tsunami deposits close to the limit of inundation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104644
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume118
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul

Keywords

  • 2011 Tohoku earthquake
  • Geochemistry
  • Japan
  • Sedimentology
  • Tsunami deposits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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