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Using microfossils to identify tsunamis and hurricanes in the geologic record

Lillian Pearson

As tsunamis and large scale hurricanes can occur on centennial to millennial time scales, observational and historical records generally do not provide sufficient information to determine consistent patterns of event frequency and intensity. Coastal populations have been growing, making it even more important to better understand these coastal hazards and prepare for the future by looking into the past. The geologic record therefore can provide more insight on greater timescale of these coastal hazards. Microfossils such as plankton, that are abruptly found in sand sheets onshore can be indicators of extreme, but short lived marine flooding that would coincide with a tsunami or hurricane. By analyzing the microfossils deposited within coastal sand sheets it is possible to reconstruct the coastal hazard history of a region.

Speaker: Lillian Pearson, Univ. of Southern Mississippi

Thursday, 01/09/20


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