Geomorphic imprints of repeated tsunami waves in a coastal valley in northeastern Japan

Yuichi S. Hayakawa, Takashi Oguchi, Hitoshi Saito, Akitoshi Kobayashi, Victor R. Baker, Jon D. Pelletier, Luke A. McGuire, Goro Komatsu, Kazuhisa Goto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Devastating tsunami waves induced by the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake severely inundated valleys along the ria-type (notched rocky) coast in northeastern Japan, causing erosion of bedrock on valley-side slopes. Using high-resolution topographic data obtained by terrestrial and airborne laser scanning, we investigated detailed morphology of the eroded valley in a typical site at Aneyoshi. We found several characteristic features likely affected by tsunami wave erosion: 1) a series of small cliffs on the valley-side slopes related to the tsunami flow depth, 2) an inverse asymmetry of side slopes at ingrown meander bends, 3) an exceptionally wide valley bottom near the coast, and 4) a knickpoint located around the maximum tsunami run-up point far back from the coast. These topographic features are ascribable to repeated tsunami wave erosion since the mid-Holocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-10
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Bedrock erosion
  • Cliff
  • Knickpoint
  • Meander
  • Terrestrial laser scanning
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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