Multi-proxy characterisation of the Storegga tsunami and its impact on the early holocene landscapes of the Southern North Sea

Gaffney, V. et al. (2020) Multi-proxy characterisation of the Storegga tsunami and its impact on the early holocene landscapes of the Southern North Sea. Geosciences, 10(7), e270. (doi: 10.3390/geosciences10070270)

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Doggerland was a landmass occupying an area currently covered by the North Sea until marine inundation took place during the mid-Holocene, ultimately separating the British landmass from the rest of Europe. The Storegga Event, which triggered a tsunami reflected in sediment deposits in the northern North Sea, northeast coastlines of the British Isles and across the North Atlantic, was a major event during this transgressive phase. The spatial extent of the Storegga tsunami however remains unconfirmed as, to date, no direct evidence for the event has been recovered from the southern North Sea. We present evidence of a tsunami deposit in the southern North Sea at the head of a palaeo-river system that has been identified using seismic survey. The evidence, based on lithostratigraphy, geochemical signatures, macro and microfossils and sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA), supported by optical stimulated luminescence (OSL) and radiocarbon dating, suggests that these deposits were a result of the tsunami. Seismic identification of this stratum and analysis of adjacent cores showed diminished traces of the tsunami which was largely removed by subsequent erosional processes. Our results confirm previous modelling of the impact of the tsunami within this area of the southern North Sea, and also indicate that these effects were temporary, localized, and mitigated by the dense woodland and topography of the area. We conclude that clear physical remnants of the wave in these areas are likely to be restricted to now buried, palaeo-inland basins and incised river valley systems.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Seismic, tsunami, Doggerland, palaeoenvironment, palaeolandscape, sedimentary ancient DNA, geochemistry, geomorphology, Mesolithic, Storegga, North Sea.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hamilton, Dr Derek
Authors: Gaffney, V., Fitch, S., Bates, M., Ware, R. L., Kinnaird, T., Gearey, B., Hill, T., Telford, R., Batt, C., Stern, B., Whittaker, J., Davies, S., Sharada, M. B., Everett, R., Cribdon, R., Kistler, L., Harris, S., Kearney, K., Walker, J., Muru, M., Hamilton, D., Law, M., Finlay, A., Bates, R., and Allaby, R. G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Geosciences
ISSN (Online):2076-3263
Published Online:15 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Geosciences 10(7):e270
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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