Tsunami sediments and their foraminiferal assemblages

Briony Mamo*, Luke Strotz, Dale Dominey-Howes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Tsunami hazard assessment begins with a compilation of past events that have affected a specific location. Given the inherent limitations of historical archives, the geological record has the potential to provide an independent dataset useful for establishing a richer, chronologically deeper time series of past events. Recent geological studies of tsunami are helping to improve our understanding of the nature and character of tsunami sediments. Wherever possible, geologists should be working to improve the research 'tool kit' available to identify past tsunami events. Marine foraminifera (single celled heterotrophic protists) have often been reported as present within tsunami-deposited sediments but in reality, little information about environmental conditions, and by analogy, the tsunami that deposited them, has been reported even though foraminifera have an enormous capacity to provide meaningful palaeo-environmental data. Here, we review what foraminifera are, describe their basic form and significance, summarise where they have been reported in tsunami sediments and identify what can be learnt from them. We review the gaps in our understanding and make recommendations to assist researchers who examine foraminiferal assemblages in order to enhance their use within tsunami geology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


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