Searching for the 1867 Tsunami in the Greater and Lesser Antilles Islands

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The Ohio State University

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The Greater and Lesser Antilles form a chain of islands in the Caribbean Sea which lie on an active plate margin. This area is known for experiencing devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamigenic events. Earthquakes and tsunamis are important natural disasters to study because of their destruction to coastal areas and to those who live in those areas. Earthquakes and subsequently tsunamis create extensive damage to infrastructure, landscapes, ecosystems, and amass countless casualties. Studying tsunamis and understanding how and why they form, allows us to prepare better for the future by setting up risk assessment protocols in the event they should occur. Retrieving sediment cores from undisturbed areas affected by tsunamis allows us to analyze the sediment deposition and observe any disruptions without disturbances from living organisms. Coastal salt ponds make excellent traps for tsunamiites, due to their high salinity and lack of life within the ponds. Tsunamiites are sections of the sediment record which are noted by disrupted sediment deposition, preserving evidence of a tsunami inundation events. Outlined in this paper are the steps taken to discover salt ponds and decide systematically which salt ponds are the likeliest to contain tsunami deposits. Further studies of higher ranked salt ponds may find evidence of this tsunamigenic event, which will further assist in understanding tsunami frequency and to plan better for the future



Salt Pond, Caribbean, Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, Tsunami, Earthquake