Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Professor Antony Long

Buchwal, A., Szczucinski, W., Strzelecki, M. & Long, A.J. (2015). New insights into the 21 November 2000 tsunami in west Greenland from analyses of the tree-ring structure of Salix glauca. Polish Polar Research 36(1): 51-65.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

We test the application of dendrochronological methods for dating and assessing the environmental impacts of tsunamis in polar regions, using an example of the 21 Novem− ber 2000 landslide−generated tsunami in Vaigat Strait (Sullorsuaq Strait), West Greenland. The studied tsunami inundated a c. 130 m−wide coastal plain with seawater, caused erosion of beaches and top soil and covered the area with an up to 35 cm−thick layer of tsunami de− posits composed of sand and gravel. Samples of living shrub, Salix glauca (greyleaf wil− low) were collected in 2012 from tsunami−flooded and non−flooded sites. The tree−ring analyses reveal unambiguously that the tsunami−impacted area was immediately colonized during the following summer by rapidly growing shrubs, whilst one of our control site spec− imens records evidence for damage that dates to the time of the tsunami. This demonstrates the potential for dendrochronological methods to act as a precise tool for the dating of Arc− tic paleotsunamis, as well as rapid post−tsunami ecosystem recovery. The reference site shrubs were likely damaged by solifluction in the autumn 2000 AD that was triggered by high seasonal rainfall, which was itself a probable contributory factor to the tsunami−gener− ating landslide.