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Engel M., Brückner H.. The identification of palaeo-tsunami deposits â a major challenge in coastal sedimentary research. In: Karius V., Hadler H., Deicke M., von Eynatten H., Brückner H. & Vött A.. Dynamische Küsten - Grundlagen, Zusammenhänge und Auswirkungen im Spiegel angewandter Küstenforschung. Coastline Reports (17), pp. 65-80. EUCC-D - Die Küsten Union Deutschland e.V., Rostock, 2011.

Zusammenfassung: Extreme wave conditions associated with severe storms or tsunamis represent major hazards along coasts worldwide. For appropriate hazard assessment, reliable information on the magnitude and frequency of catastrophic events of the past is crucial. Especially in areas where historical accounts are fragmentary or cover only short periods, the onshore sedimentary record provides a promising key to reconstruct impacts of extraordinary waves. However, the differentiation between tsunami and storm surge deposits in onshore stratigraphies is extremely difficult, since most of their characteristics only indicate marine flooding. We discuss the most recent strategies to identify tsunami sand and mud deposits in coastal stratigraphies. In order to pre-evaluate the local hazard, (i) potential tsunami triggering mechanisms (local – regional – far-field), (ii) local and regional historical accounts (including historical documents/tsunami catalogues, interviews with contemporary witnesses, etc.) on the effects of tsunamis and severe storms, and (iii) extreme atmospheric conditions have to be analyzed. A holistic study of the sedimentary environments within the area of interest (especially source areas) is essential since it will determine the sedimentary record of any extreme wave event. Local reference deposits from either recent or historically well documented tsunami or severe storm surges guarantee the safest conclusions and should be favoured over a schematic application of global ‘tsunami signature types’.
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