The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2011 TÅ hoku earthquake and tsunami caused large-scale topographic changes in coastal areas. Whereas much research has focused on coastlines that have or had large human populations, little focus has been paid to coastlines that have little or no infrastructure. The importance of examining erosional and depositional mechanisms of tsunami events lies in the rapid reorganization that coastlines must undertake immediately after an event. A thorough understanding of the pre-event conditions is paramount to understanding the natural reconstruction of the coastal environment. This study examines the location of sediment erosion and deposition during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami event on the relatively pristine Phra Thong Island, Thailand. Coupled with satellite imagery, we use numerical simulations and sediment transportation models to determine the locations of significant erosion and the areas where much of that sediment was redeposited during the tsunami inundation and backwash processes. Our modeling approach suggests that beaches located in two regions on Phra Thong Island were significantly eroded by the 2004 tsunami, predominantly during the backwash phase of the first and largest wave to strike the island. Although 2004 tsunami deposits are found on the island, we demonstrate that most of the sediment was deposited in the shallow coastal area, facilitating quick recovery of the beach when normal coastal processes resumed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)