A 600-year-long stratigraphic record of high tsunamis in south-central Chile

TitleA 600-year-long stratigraphic record of high tsunamis in south-central Chile
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHong I, Dura T, Ely LL, Horton BP, Nelson AR, Cisternas M, Nikitina DL, Wesson RL
JournalHolocene
Volume27
Issue1
Pagination39-51
Date Published06/2016
Abstract

The stratigraphy within coastal river valleys in south-central Chile clarifies and extends the region’s history of large, earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis. Our site at Quidico (38.1°S, 73.3°W) is located in an overlap zone between ruptures of magnitude 8–9 earthquakes in 1960 and 2010, and, therefore, records tsunamis originating from subduction-zone ruptures north and south of the city of Concepción. Hand-dug pits and cores in a 3-m-thick sequence of freshwater peat in an abandoned meander (a little-examined depositional environment for tsunami deposits) and exposures along the Quidico River show five sand beds that extend as much as 1.2 km inland. Evidence for deposition of the beds by tsunamis includes tabular sand beds that are laterally extensive (>100 m), well sorted, fine upward, have sharp lower contacts, and contain diatom assemblages dominated by brackish and marine taxa. Using eyewitness accounts of tsunami inundation, 137Cs analyses, and 14C dating, we matched the upper four sand beds with historical tsunamis in 2010, 1960, 1835, and 1751. The oldest prehistoric bed dates to 1445–1490 CE and correlates with lacustrine and coastal records of similar-aged earthquakes and tsunamis in south-central Chile.

URLhttp://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959683616646191
DOI10.1177/0959683616646191