Black Sea tsunamis and paleotsunami studies on the Thrace Coasts of Turkey

Altınok Y., ALPAR Ş. B., Özer N., Ünlü S., Meriç E., Nazik A., ...More

Ninth International Conference on the Mediterranean Coastal Environment, MEDCOAST 09, Russia, 1 - 04 November 2009, vol.2, pp.931-942

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 2
  • Country: Russia
  • Page Numbers: pp.931-942
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


It is identified that 23 moderate tsunamis hit the Black Sea’s coasts during the last
2000 years. Some of these tsunamis had been catastrophic at some vulnerable spots of the
coast, flooding coastal areas and drowning a few thousand people in towns and villages;
such as the ones in 544/545 and 1598. Tsunamis may leave their fingerprints typically in
low-energy depositional environments such as coastal wetlands, lagoons and places
protected from the sea by sandy barriers. Such places protect tsunami deposits from postdepositional
erosion. The topographic conditions of the Black Sea coastline of Turkey are
not favourable in preservation of marine flood deposits. A few low lying beaches or
marsh-filled depositional sedimentary basins on the Thrace coasts may have
geomorphologic potential, even usually intercalated with fluvial effects of nearby creeks,
to record and keep the clues of historical tsunami impacts. Yet there have been relatively
few studies of the processes associated with tsunami sediment transport, their deposition
and nature; the present study attempts to understand if a coarse grained sedimentary unit
mixed with marine shell fragments observed in a trench in Kıyıköy could have been
related to a historical tsunami. The soil samples were tested for their particle
characterization, micro-fossil contents, standard sediment chemistry and biochemical
conditions. Even though some effects of a marine intrusion were observed, the results are
open to debate. For more meaningful regional explanations and to give way to numerical
modelling which make the main tasks for tsunami hunting in the Black Sea, similar
studies throughout the basin are needed.