Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Scientific Reports, Volume 7 (2017)
The 26th December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami (IOT) emanated from an Mw 9.2 earthquake that generated a 1600 km-long rupture along the Sumatran Megathrust and generated tsunami waves up to 30 m high. The IOT directly impacted the Bay of Bengal and east Africa, with over 283,000 people perishing. At the time, this catastrophic event was considered unprecedented and sparked intense investigations to test this claim. It is now believed that four pre-2004 IOT events have occurred in the last 2500 years, recurring every 550 to 700 years. Much of this information comes from Phra Thong Island, Thailand, where a sequence of four stacked sandsheets separated by organic units has been recognised and compared to the 2004 IOT event. Recently, ground-penetrating radar on Phra Thong Island identified a region that could not be explained by the known stratigraphy. The stratigraphy of the area was investigated from auger cores and pits, and several previously-unrecognised sandsheets were identified and compared to the known tsunami sandsheets. The proximity of the newly-recognised sandsheets to the palaeo-coastline of Phra Thong Island does not preclude the impacts of localised storms in sandsheet emplacement or that tsunamigenic earthquake recurrence may have been more frequent in the past.