Numerical identification of tsunami boulders and estimation of local tsunami size at Ibaruma reef of Ishigaki Island, Japan

Masashi Watanabe, Kazuhisa Goto, Fumihiko Imamura, Chuki Hongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tsunami boulders deposited along the coast constitute important geological evidence for paleotsunami activity. However, boulders can also be deposited by large storm waves. Although several sedimentological and theoretical methods have been proposed to differentiate tsunami and storm wave affected boulders, no appropriate numerical method exists for their differentiation. Therefore, we developed a new numerical scheme to differentiate tsunami and storm wave boulders for coastal boulders on Ishigaki Island, Japan. In this area, tsunami and storm waves have emplaced numerous boulders on the reef and the coast. By conducting numerical calculations of storm waves in this region, we estimated the size of a storm wave that can explain the maximum clast size distribution of boulders on the reef. Consequently, we showed that a wave with a combination of 8 m in initial wave height and 10 s period can satisfy the above conditions when we assume mean sea level. In contrast to the boulders on the reef, all boulders deposited along the shore are heavier than the calculated possible maximum clast size distribution by the storm wave. Therefore, we confirmed these boulders as being of tsunami origin. Results of previous studies showed that they were most likely deposited or reworked by the 1771 Meiwa tsunami. Then, using the tsunami boulders, we numerically estimated the wave period and amplitude of the 1771 Meiwa tsunami, which should have had a 4–5 min period and 5.6–5.9, 6.3–7.0 m amplitude, respectively. Using the proposed scheme, it is possible to differentiate tsunami and storm wave boulders and estimate the size of past storm waves and tsunami waves, although it is noteworthy that there are exceptions for which the scheme cannot be applied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-332
Number of pages17
JournalIsland Arc
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 1

Keywords

  • boulder transport
  • coastal boulders
  • numerical calculation
  • storm wave deposit
  • tsunami deposit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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