Paleotsunami research - current debate and controversies

Document Type

Book chapter

Publication details

Scheffers, AM 2015, 'Paleotsunami research - current debate and controversies', in J Ellis & DJ Sherman (eds.), Coastal and marine hazards, risks, and disasters, pp. 59-92. ISBN: 9780123964830

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Peer Reviewed



During 1989–2014, our knowledge and research focus on modern and paleotsunami events have increased exponentially. Before the catastrophic Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 AD, nearly 1000 scientific papers had discussed the topic, but since then, over another 1000 research articles have been published. The strong tsunami events of Chile, 2010, and particularly the Tohoku megatsunami in Japan of March 2011 will certainly advance tsunami research further. Hitherto, a large percentage of tsunami-related articles have highlighted the origin of tsunamis, their geophysics, tsunami wave progradation, tsunami risk evaluation, and mitigation. This contribution focuses on fields of debate that still exist, in particular the identification of paleotsunami sediments in geoarchives, the discussion of boulder movements induced either by strong storms or tsunami waves, the enigma of impact tsunamis during the Quaternary, and modeling versus field observations in paleotsunami science.