Effect of artificial structures on the formation process of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami deposits

Yasutaka Iijima, Kazuhisa Goto, Daisuke Sugawara, Tomoya Abe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The interaction between tsunami hydrodynamics and sediment behavior results in a complex depositional process for onshore tsunami deposits. Furthermore, the formation of modern tsunami deposits can be affected by artificial structures, which can make the depositional processes difficult to understand. In the present study, we focus on artificial structures to reveal the relationship between sedimentary structures and hydrodynamics of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami. Field observations indicated that a coastal dike and three shore-parallel roadways significantly affected the source, thickness, and sedimentary structures of the tsunami deposits. The sandy tsunami deposits were mainly sourced from the backshore, which was severely eroded at the landward side of the dike by tsunami overflow. The thickness of the tsunami deposits increased seaward of roadways, while the deposit became thinner landward of roadways. A one-dimensional numerical simulation indicated a local decrease in the flow velocity at the seaward side of roadways, which elucidated the increase in the deposit thickness. Most tsunami deposits are characterized by normal graing, inverse grading, and ungraded units. Inverse grading was observed 0.05 km from the shoreline and at the seaward side of the roadways, except at the most landward roadway. Changes in the grain-size distribution of the deposits and variations in the simulated flow velocity across the roadways suggested that the inverse grading was formed because of waxing and depletive flow conditions with high concentrations of suspended sediments. Our study elucidated the key role that artificial structures play in the formation of tsunami deposits and the resultant sedimentary structures, in developed coastal areas. Artificial structures, which have a somewhat extreme topography compared to the natural geomorphology, also contributed to demonstrate the concept of the acceleration matrix. This is because of the remarkable change in the steadiness and uniformity of the tsunami flow and the resultant sedimentary structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105978
JournalSedimentary Geology
Volume423
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep

Keywords

  • Acceleration matrix
  • Fukushima Prefecture
  • Inverse grading
  • Sediment source
  • Tsunami deposit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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