Earthquake-Driven Coastal Change: Ghost Forests, Graveyards and “Komodo Dragons”

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Like Indonesia prior to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, much of the west coast of North America (northern California through Vancouver Island BC) has had no instrumentally or historically recorded great earthquakes and tsunamis. This lack of events is a veil of safety that the geologic record indicates is false. Analysis of sediments deposited by these events provides important information about prior and potential earthquake and tsunami characteristics (magnitude, frequency, runup, etc.) fundamental to having an informed population and hazard preparation and mitigation. Collecting these sediments requires fieldwork, my favorite part of the job, which often provides some unique experiences. In this chapter, ghost forests and a graveyard bookend paleoearthquake fieldwork in coastal Oregon and a dance with a ‘Komodo Dragon’ in coastal Malaysia makes sampling the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami an experience I will never forget.




Hawkes, A. D. (2021). Earthquake-Driven Coastal Change: Ghost Forests, Graveyards and “Komodo Dragons.” In Springer Climate (pp. 151–167). Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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