Trimlines as evidence for palaeo-tsunamis

Document Type


Publication details

Scheffers, A, Scheffers, S & Squires, P 2012, 'Trimlines as evidence for palaeo-tsunamis', Natural hazards, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 165-179.

Publisher's version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11069-010-9691-6

Peer Reviewed



As seen in many of the satellite images from the tsunami in the Indian Ocean which struck in 2004, there is a distinctive limit between an area with sand coverage, vegetation destruction, and soil erosion on the one hand, and the unaffected natural vegetation on the other. This distinction provides a good landmark to map the inundation width, delimited on the landward side by a trimline. In this study, older trimlines, dating back about 300 years, from tsunamis that occurred throughout the world were documented. We discuss the origin and chronology of trimline modification and extinction, both of which depend on local topography, rock type, and climate.