Microfossil Record of the Tropical Cyclone Pam Deposit from Vanuatu: Implications for Documenting Long-Term Records of South Pacific Storms
We collected a series of modern surface samples from locations within a protected Bay (Undine Bay; 17° 31' 17”S, 168°23’ 51”E) and an exposed beach (Manuro Beach; 17°41’49”S, 168° 35’32”E) on Efate Island, Vanuatu. The surface samples were analyzed for their foraminiferal (taxonomy and taphonomy) content and compared to the foraminiferal assemblages contained within TC Pam sediments at Manuro Beach in order to assess provenance for the sand. Manuro Beach was inundated up to 310 m inland by TC Pam’s storm surge. The TC Pam deposit at Manuro Beach ranges in thickness from 3 to 18 cm and consists of a fine to medium mixed-carbonate sand layer up to 60 m inland. At 60 m inland, the deposit abruptly switches to one consisting exclusively of small, rounded pumice pebbles and extends up to the TC Pam inundation limit at 310 m. Dominant foraminifera within the TC Pam deposit include Amphistegina spp., Calcarina spp., and Marginopora vertebralis, indicating that the majority of the sand was sourced from shallow reefal areas and not from deeper areas offshore.