Tsunami-generated turbidity current of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake

Kazuno Arai, Hajime Naruse, Ryo Miura, Kiichiro Kawamura, Ryota Hino, Yoshihiro Ito, Daisuke Inazu, Miwa Yokokawa, Norihiro Izumi, Masafumi Murayama, Takafumi Kasaya

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50 Citations (Scopus)


We show the first real-time record of a turbidity current associated with a great earthquake, the Mw 9.0, 2011 Tohoku-Oki event offshore Japan. Turbidity current deposits (turbidites) have been used to estimate earthquake recurrence intervals from geologic records. Until now, however, there has been no direct evidence for large-scale earthquakes in subduction plate margins. After the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami, an anomalous event on the seafloor consistent with a turbidity current was recorded by ocean-bottom pressure recorders and seismometers deployed offSendai, Japan. Freshly emplaced turbidites were collected from a wide area of seafloor offthe Tohoku coastal region. We analyzed these measurements and sedimentary records to determine conditions of the modern tsunamigenic turbidity current. We anticipate our discovery to be a starting point for more detailed characterization of modern tsunamigenic turbidites, and for the identification of tsunamigenic turbidites in geologic records.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1198
Number of pages4
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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    Arai, K., Naruse, H., Miura, R., Kawamura, K., Hino, R., Ito, Y., Inazu, D., Yokokawa, M., Izumi, N., Murayama, M., & Kasaya, T. (2013). Tsunami-generated turbidity current of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake. Geology, 41(11), 1195-1198. https://doi.org/10.1130/G34777.1