Aceh Geohazards Project: Interaction of Geohazards and Settlements through the Past Millennium, Aceh, Indonesia

The Aceh Geohazards Project combines geology, geomorphology, history and archaeology to better understand the past occurrence of tsunami in Aceh, and the extent to which such events might have impacted past societies. Our research has shown that the immediate predecessors of the 2004 tsunami occurred six centuries ago and devastated a 14th century coastal settlement. Furthermore, we discovered a detailed 7,000 year sequence of tsunami deposits in a cave in coastal Aceh.

With partners at Syiah Kuala University and the International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies (ICAIOS), we are conducting a comprehensive interdisciplinary investigation of the interactions of coastal processes and settlements along the northern coast of Aceh. We are examining the evolution of settlements and coastal and river systems through the past millennium via geological mapping, geochronology, geodesy, stratigraphy, micropaleontology, and archaeology. Our aim is to produce a compelling picture of the interaction of humanity and geohazards for the past thousand years along this historically important coast. 

The geological and geomorphological work is lead by Professor Kerry Sieh, EOS;  Dr. Nazli Ishmail, Syiah Kuala University; Professor Ben Horton, Rutgers University; Dr. Aron Meltzer, EOS; and Paul Morgan, EOS.

The archaeological and historical work is led by Dr. Patrick Daly, EOS; Era Maida, ICAIOS; Dr. R. M. Feener, Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford; Dr. E. Edwards McKinnon, ISEAS; Dr. Tai Yew Seng, EOS; and Hermansyah ICAIOS.

Funding Sources: 

  • Earth Observatory of Singapore

Project Years: 


EOS Team: 

Principal Investigator



E. Edwards McKinnon, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies

Nazli Ismail, Department of Geophysics, Syiah Kuala University


Nizamuddin, GIS and Remote Sensing Development Centre, Syiah Kuala University

Michael Feener, Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford

Jessica Rahardjo, Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford