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GEOMORPHIC EVIDENCE AND RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE DATING RESULTS FOR TSUNAMI EVENTS ON CYPRUS

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Author(s): Franziska Whelan | Dieter Kelletat

Journal: Science of Tsunami Hazards
ISSN 8755-6839

Volume: 20;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2002;
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Keywords: Tsunami | tsunamis | tsunami like waves | Tsunami events | Cyprus | earthquakes

ABSTRACT
For the Mediterranean area, almost 100 tsunamis were recorded in historical sources from Antiquity till present. Recordings often describe the consequences for human lives and buildings in coastal areas. However, little evidence for the geomorphic effects of tsunamis has been collected in thisregion. Tsunami run-up may destroy soil and vegetation. Tsunamis may further move extremely large volumes of coarse clastic material including individual boulders weighing more than 20 t. Trottoirs, supra- littoral cliffs, and tafoni may also be destroyed. Deepwater foraminifers deposited on land also provide evidence for Tsunami action. Recently extensively dispersed tsunami deposits were observed in southwestern and southeastern Cyprus. Field collected evidence proves tsunami action for over 60 km of coastline and about 100 - 150 m inland. Coastal areas up to 15 m asl, sometimes up to a maximum height of 30 - 50 m asl, have been influenced by tsunami action on Cyprus Island. This paper describes these deposits, their morphologic characteristics, and possibilities of relative and absolute dating.Cues for relative age determination are provided by soil and vegetation, tafoning, karstification on displaced boulders, and by post-tsunami cliff and beach rock development. Field evidence suggests that tsunamis occurred during the last few centuries. This time estimate was also supported by the absolute 14C dating of vermetids and calcareous algae crusts on displaced boulders, and by the dating of relocated wood and charcoal. Overall, strong tsunami action can be assumed for the time between 1530 and 1821 AD.
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