Estuarine morphology recovery after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake tsunami

Vo Cong Hoang, Hitoshi Tanaka, Yuta Mitobe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami caused severe morphological changes along the affected coastline on the northeast part of Japan. This study investigates the recovery of river mouths and breaching of sandy coast at the place used to be river mouth in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan after severe erosion induced by the tsunami through analyzing aerial photograph and investigating field data. After several years since the tsunami took place, the morphology of some river mouths has mostly recovered while others still have some damage. Results on the analysis of aerial photograph clearly indicate that the total length of sandy coast on both sides of river mouth plays important role in the recovery process. Moreover, the relevant phenomenon occurring during the morphological recovery process is also investigated. The findings demonstrated the intrusion of sand spit into river mouths due to the tsunami having scoured river mouth deeper than the depth of closure. Interestingly, the intrusion distance was found to be positively correlated with the width of river mouth. In addition, there is an important finding on the practical problem which is related to the intrusion upstream of sand spit. That intrusion shifts the boundary of fresh-sea water upstream, therefore external wave forces must be considered when implementing the design of river structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-125
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 1


  • Aerial photograph
  • Erosion
  • Morphology recovery
  • Recovery time
  • Shoreline
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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