Tsunami Recurrences in the Ryukyu Arc-trench System: Geological Records in the Jinshan Coastal Plain of North Taiwan
Abstract:Active continental margin like the Ryukyu arc-trench system poses high tsunami risk, which however remains poorly assessed due to the sparse historic records and geological studies. In order to better understand the tsunami risk in northern Taiwan of the southernmost Ryukyu active margin, borehole cores of the Jinshan Coastal Plain were investigated for the tsunami deposits of 1867 event and possibly its precursors.
Based on facies characteristics, two decimeter-thick marine event sand beds are identified intercalated with the fluvial gravelly deposit that has been accumulated in a microtidal barred estuary over the past millennium. Distributed all over the coastal plain except the coastal sand spits, the fluvial deposit are predominantly sourced from the Pleistocene arc andesite, and thus commonly reddish in color due to the high iron content. The marine beds are rich in quartz sand and granule, whitish gray in color, and rounded to subangular in grain shape, indicating a sediment source from the coastal sand spits which receive longshore drift from the nearby rocky coasts dominated by the Oligocene and Miocene quartzose sandstone and mudstone. The facies succession of marine bed is characterized by erosion base, planar lamination, normal grading, soft-sediment deformation, and variations in magnetic susceptibility, Si, K, Ti, and Fe. The succession reflects the sedimentary processes from incoming wave erosion, rapid marine deposition, backflow reworking, and suspension fall-out.
The marine beds are traceable landward based on the facies characteristics and C14 dating over a distance up to two kilometers before thinning out and grading into carbonaceous mud. According to the C14 dating, the two marine beds are linked to the 1867 tsunami and an earlier event in the late 17th century. Based on their ages and distributions, the two event beds further suggest two marine incursions of similar extant in an approximate recurrence interval of ~170 yr.