Paleotsunami history of Hachinohe, northern Japan: a multiproxy analysis and numerical modeling approach

Erick R. Velasco-Reyes, Kazuhisa Goto, Daisuke Sugawara, Yuichi Nishimura, Takahiro Shinohara, Takashi Chiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Paleotsunami studies along the Pacific coast of Tohoku, northern Japan, have been considerably developed recently, particularly after the massive impact of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami. Nevertheless, in the southernmost Shimokita Peninsula, studies pertaining to paleotsunami are underdeveloped, leading to a vague understanding of the tsunamigenic sources northward of the Tohoku region, along with incomplete hazard evaluation. Paleotsunami deposits in Shimokita can be related not only to the Japan Trench along the Sanriku coast but also to the Kuril trench along the Pacific coast of Hokkaido. In this study, we unveiled the paleotsunami history of Hachinohe in northern Tohoku. Using a combination of sedimentological, geochemical, paleontological, and mineralogical proxies, we characterized seven sand layers that dated from ca. 2700 to ca. 5500 yr BP based on radiocarbon (14C) ages as event deposits of marine origin. Sedimentological and paleontological evidence coupled with ground-penetrating radar imagery revealed a marsh environment comprising successive extinct ponds, controlling the depositional environment. Numerical modeling ruled out the possibility of storms as genetic sources, leading to the conclusion that the presence of event deposits with marine sediments in the study area would be associated with tsunami inundation episodes. Based on 14C dating, the mean frequency of recurrence of tsunamis is estimated as 384 years (320–450 yr, 95% confidence interval) and a coefficient of variation of 0.78 (0.68–0.99, 95% confidence interval). The previously recorded limited paleotsunami evidence and absence of an estimated recurrence interval in the Shimokita Peninsula reaffirm the importance of Hachinohe as a tsunami record site for the activity of both trenches. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Computed tomography
  • Hachinohe
  • Japan Trench
  • Paleotsunami deposits
  • Tsunami modeling
  • Tsunami recurrence
  • XRF


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