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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Ed Garrett

Shennan, I., Barlow, N.L.M., Carver, G.A., Davies, F.P., Garrett, E. & Hocking, E.P. Great tsunamigenic earthquakes during the last 1000 years on the Alaska megathrust. Geology. 2014;42:687-690.

Author(s) from Durham


Large to great earthquakes and related tsunamis generated on the Alaska megathrust produce major hazards for both the area of rupture and heavily populated coastlines around much of the Pacific Ocean. Recent modeling studies suggest that single-segment ruptures, as well as multi-segment, 1964-type ruptures, can produce great earthquakes, >M8, and significant hazards both in the near field and to distant locations through the generation of tsunamis. We present new paleoseismological data from Kodiak Island and a new analysis of radiocarbon data based on Bayesian age modeling to combine our observations with previous geological, historical, and archaeological investigations. We suggest that, in addition to multi-segment ruptures in A.D. 1964 and 1020–1150 (95% age estimate), a single-segment rupture occurred in 1788, with coseismic land-surface deformation across Kodiak Island and a tsunami that is recorded in historical documents and in sediment sequences, and another, similar rupture of the same Kodiak segment at A.D. 1440–1620. These indicate shorter intervals between ruptures of the Kodiak segment than previously assumed, and more frequent ruptures than for the Prince William Sound segment.