Palaeotsunamis in the Pacific Islands

James Goff, Catherine Chagué-Goff, Dale Dominey-Howes, Brian McAdoo, Shane Cronin, M. Bonté-Grapetin Michael, Scott Nichol, Mark Horrocks, Marco Cisternas, Geoffroy Lamarche, Bernard Pelletier, Bruce Jaffe, Walter Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The recent 29 September 2009 South Pacific and 27 February 2010 Chilean events are a graphic reminder that the tsunami hazard and risk for the Pacific Ocean region should not be forgotten. Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) generally have short (<150 years) historic records, which means that to understand their tsunami hazard and risk researchers must study evidence for prehistoric events. However, our current state of knowledge of palaeotsunamis in PICs as opposed to their circum-Pacific counterparts is minimal at best. We briefly outline the limited extent of our current knowledge and propose an innovative methodology for future research in the Pacific. Each PIC represents a point source of information in the Pacific Ocean and this would allow their palaeotsunami records to be treated akin to palaeo-DART® (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) buoys. Contemporaneous palaeotsunamis from local, regional and distant sources could be identified by using the spatial distribution of island records throughout the Pacific Ocean in conjunction with robust event chronologies. This would be highly innovative and, more importantly, would help provide the building blocks necessary to achieve more meaningful disaster risk reduction for PICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Pacific Island Countries
  • Palaeotsunami
  • Risk
  • Sources


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