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Tsunamis: Geology, Hazards and Risks

Product Code: SP456
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by E.M. Scourse, N.A. Chapman, D.R. Tappin and S.R. Wallis
Publication Date: 05 January 2018
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Special Publication 456

This Special Publication examines tsunami hazard and risk, with particular focus on using the geological record. With Earth’s growing population clustered increasingly on coastlines, tsunami hazards are of concern worldwide. The papers explore the sedimentological and dynamic traces of recent and prehistoric tsunamis globally – from Europe to the Pacific – as well as looking at historic records and how the information can be used to characterise the scale of impacts and areas that are most susceptible to tsunami hazards. Armed with this information, scientists can begin to quantify risks, both to populations and in economic terms. This volume is aimed both at scientists working in this field and at a wider community, interested in tsunami science and natural hazard assessment.

Published online 11/01/2018. Print copies available from 04/01/2018.

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Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781786203182
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 252
Weight: 0.94 kg


Foreword: Geological Society of Japan

Foreword: Geological Society of London

SCOURSE, E. M., CHAPMAN, N. A., TAPPIN, D. R. & WALLIS, S. R. Tsunamis: geology, hazards and risks – introduction 1

Foreword: Geological Society of London

TAPPIN, D. R. The importance of geologists and geology in tsunami science and tsunami hazard

WALLIS, S. R., FUJIWARA, O. & GOTO, K. Geological studies in tsunami research since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake

GODA, K., YASUDA, T., MAI, P. M., MARUYAMA, T. & MORI, N. Tsunami simulations of mega-thrust earthquakes in the Nankai–Tonankai Trough (Japan) based on stochastic rupture scenarios

IKEHARA, K., USAMI, K., KANAMATSU, T., ARAI, K., YAMAGUCHI, A. & FUKUCHI, R. Spatial variability in sediment lithology and sedimentary processes along the Japan Trench: use of deep-sea turbidite records to reconstruct past large earthquakes

LINDHOLM, C., STRAUCH, W. & FERNÁNDEZ, M. Tsunami hazard in Central America: history and future

BOULTON, S. J. & WHITWORTH, M. R. Z. Block and boulder accumulations on the southern coast of Crete (Greece): evidence for the 365 CE tsunami in the Eastern Mediterranean 

MOTTERSHEAD, D. N., BRAY, M. J. & SOAR, P. J. Tsunami landfalls in the Maltese archipelago: reconciling the historical record with geomorphological evidence 

LONG, D. Cataloguing tsunami events in the UK

COSTA, P. J. M., GELFENBAUM, G., DAWSON, S., LA SELLE, S., MILNE, F., CASCALHO, J., LIRA, C. P., ANDRADE, C., FREITAS, M. C. & JAFFE, B. The application of microtextural and heavy mineral analysis to discriminate between storm and tsunami deposits 

Risk modelling

WOO, G. Risk-informed tsunami warnings

POWER, W., WANG, X., WALLACE, L., CLARK, K. & MUELLER, C. The New Zealand Probabilistic Tsunami Hazard Model: development and implementation of a methodology for estimating tsunami hazard nationwide

DAVIES, G., GRIFFIN, J., LØVHOLT, F., GLIMSDAL, S., HARBITZ, C., THIO, H. K., LORITO, S., BASILI, R., SELVA, J., GEIST, E. & BAPTISTA, M. A. A global probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment from earthquake sources 



Rosemary Darby

The book has a Foreword by the Geological Society of Japan and a Foreword by the Geological Society of London, and comprises 12 chapters: 9 chapters on Tsunami hazards globally and 3 chapters on risk modelling. This is a collection of papers relating to tsunami hazards and risk modelling, mainly referring to Japan, but with chapters on Central America, the Mediterranean region, the UK and New Zealand, with mineral analyses of the various deposits. Informative pictures, tables, graphs, sections and maps are plentiful. Having some background knowledge of New Zealand, I read that chapter with interest. It describes a model to estimate quantitively the tsunami hazards around the NZ coast, helping evaluate risk and to develop measures to mitigate the hazards. The areas I know best, Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury, are particularly vulnerable, with Blenheim, situated on a flat area with hills on either side of the Marlborough Sounds forming a potential funnel from Cook Strait. Similarly, Nelson is at the centre of an extensive bay with flat land behind. Christchurch on the inland side of a volcano — Banks Peninsula— is backed by the extensive Canterbury Plains, stretching back to the Southern Alps. The cover text states that the book is “aimed at both scientists working in the field and at a wider community interested in tsunami science and natural hazard assessment.

Emma Smith

This book in the Society’s Special Publication series discusses a variety of topics from reviewing tsunami hazards globally to risk modelling. The first four sections are entirely focused on the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that was responsible for so much damage. Other papers examine the history of tsunami activity in locations such as Central America.
The collection is divided up into two categories: 1: tsunami hazards globally, which demonstrates the worldwide effect of tsunami activity; and 2: risk modelling, which evaluates the likelihood of tsunami hazards nationally (New Zealand is of particular focus here) and internationally. A personal and unexpected highlight was a paper discussing tsunamis that had affected the UK; a unique catalogue of events recorded through observations, tidal gauges and sedimentological deposits. As a bit of an eye opener, I was interested to learn about a list of probable tsunami events in the UK which date back as far as 1762.
Although teaching takes you a certain distance with geological topics this book expands on tsunami knowledge nicely, cutting out the chit-chat and delving straight into the scientific terminology, and assuming that the reader already has a grasp of how tsunamis function. Readers from such backgrounds as humanitarian/hazard response may find this a little jarring; however the reader is eased in gently by the smooth writing of the articles.
As an undergraduate, I found most of the text easy to follow; the accompanying figures support the articles well. The content of papers appeals to many backgrounds due to a wide range of disciplines discussed - from geophysics to sedimentology and with a fair amount of interesting background history. On the whole, someone with basic geological knowledge should have little trouble making their way through the literature and interpreting the diagrams.
I would recommend this as an insightful read to someone who already takes an interest in the geological and historical aspects of tsunamis, whether they a student wishing to supplement their course, or an experienced academic. The quality of the papers is fairly consistent, each offering original data, analysis and interpretations.
This publication brings together many unique aspects of tsunami research to create a refreshing collection that will be of interest to readers from geoscientific, technical, engineering, humanitarian and hazard related backgrounds.

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