Micropaleontology of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments from the Leyte Gulf, Philippines

TitleMicropaleontology of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan overwash sediments from the Leyte Gulf, Philippines
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPilarczyk JE, Horton BP, Soria JLea A, Switzer AD, Siringan F, Fritz HM, Khan NS, Ildefonso S, Doctor AA, Garcia ML
JournalSedimentary Geology
Date Published06/2016

Coastal geologic records allow for the assessment of long-term patterns of tropical cyclone variability. However, the accuracy of geologic reconstructions of tropical cyclones is limited by the lack of modern analogues. We describe the microfossil (foraminifera and testate amoebae) assemblages contained within overwash sediments deposited by Typhoon Haiyan when it made landfall on the islands of Leyte and Samar in the Philippines on 7 November 2013 as a Category 5 super typhoon. The overwash sediments were transported up to 1.7 km inland at four study sites. The sediments consisted of light brown medium sand in a layer <1 to 8 cm thick. We used Partitioning Around a Medoid (PAM) cluster analysis to identify lateral and vertical changes in the foraminiferal and testate amoebae data. The presence of intertidal and subtidal benthic, and planktic foraminifera that were variably unaltered and abraded identify the microfossil signature of the overwash sediments. Agglutinated mangrove foraminifera and testate amoebae were present within the overwash sediments at many locations and indicate terrestrial scouring by Haiyan's storm surge. PAM cluster analysis subdivided the Haiyan microfossil dataset into two assemblages based on depositional environment: (1) a low-energy mixed-carbonate tidal flat located on Samar Island (Basey transect); and (2) a higher-energy clastic coastline near Tanauan on Leyte Island (Santa Cruz, Solano, and Magay transects). The assemblages and the taphonomy suggest a mixed provenance, including intertidal and subtidal sources, as well as a contribution of sediment sourced from deeper water and terrestrial environments.