We have discovered in a marine core, located 20 km east of the Coastal Range of Taiwan at the top of a 1200 m deep submarine high, sheltered from rivers discharges and gravitational flows, a 23 cm-thick anomalous sequence topped with broken bivalves and wood fragments. Based on radiocarbon dating, we distinguish five sub-events within ∼ 100 yrs, about 3000 years ago. The oldest four sub-events are interpreted as the record of local submarine landslides, likely triggered by clustered earthquakes that are common in this tectonically active area. The last event including shells and wood has a different origin. Despite the high level of climatic and tectonic recent activity, no comparable event has been observed at the same site since that time, making it unique during the last 3.75 ka. Hydrodynamical modeling stimulated with a set of submarine landslide-triggered tsunami sources and combined with the regional oceanic circulation dominated by the Kuroshio Current, allow us to better constrain the transport paths of the suspended material, the expected run-up at the coast, and ultimately the trigger and source that best fit our observations. The Kuroshio Current appears as a strong constraint that generally prevents cross-shore transport of suspended material even during a major tsunami. Since the largest aerial debris flow observed along the east coast of Taiwan during the last 4 ka was synchronous with the marine deposit, our preferred scenario starts with the occurrence of four distinct large earthquakes within less than a century, triggering both submarine and aerial landslides in the study area. Then, a giant typhoon reworked the nearshore material as well as the slided material stored upstream resulting in a debris flow. It deeply modified the surface current, allowing the wood debris and shells to fastly reach the core site.
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 5 Dec 2016|
- Extreme events
- Submarine landslide