Landward fining from multiple sources in a sand sheet deposited by the 1929 Grand Banks tsunami, Newfoundland

  • Moore A
  • McAdoo B
  • Ruffman A
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A sandy deposit from the 1929 Grand Banks tsunami in Newfoundland contains sediment from two distinct sources, one from an inferred gravel shoreline close to the deposit, and one from a sandy dune some 200 m seaward of the deposit. The deposit ranges from 0 to 15 cm thick, and is composed of a bimodal mix of fine and coarse sand. We took approximately 100 core samples of this deposit in an attempt to characterize lateral grain size trends within the sand. Although the coarse fraction does fine with distance inland, the fine fraction does not change size over the study area, and the aggregate grain size changes in no systematic way. We interpret this deposit to represent the mixture of material picked up at the bar with material picked up at the gravel shoreline. The bar material does not fine in part because it is already fairly well sorted, but also because it is far from its source. The shoreline material, on the other hand, is poorly sorted so that the tsunami took only those grains it was capable of moving, and deposited them near their source. We estimated the size of the tsunami by determining the flow depth-flow velocity combinations required to advect sand from the bar to the back of the deposit, and by estimating the shear velocity required for motion of the largest grain we found during our survey. This modeling indicates an average flow depth of about 2.5-2.8 m over the area, at a flow velocity of 1.9-2.2 m/s. This estimate compares well with eyewitness accounts of a maximum flow depth of 7 m at the shoreline if our estimate represents an average over the whole study area. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Grain size
  • Newfoundland
  • Sedimentology
  • Tsunami
  • Tsunami deposit

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  • Andrew L. Moore

  • Brian G. McAdoo

  • Alan Ruffman

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