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    To what extent tsunami source information can be extracted from tsunami deposits? Implications from the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami deposits and sediment transport simulations

    Hidetoshi Masuda, Daisuke Sugawara, Tomoya Abe, Kazuhisa Goto

    2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami, Tsunami deposit, Paleotsunami, Tsunami source estimation, Tsunami sediment transport simulation

    Concept of deposit-based tsunami source modeling in this study. Hypothetical fault models are used for input of tsunami sediment transport simulation and evaluated by comparing the results of the simulation with field data of tsunami deposits.

    A quantitative understanding of paleotsunamis is a significant issue in tsunami sedimentology. Onshore tsunami deposits, which are geological records of tsunami inundation, are used to reconstruct paleotsunami events. Numerical models of tsunami hydrodynamics and tsunami-induced sediment transport are utilized in such reconstructions to connect tsunami deposit characteristics, flow conditions, and (paleo-) tsunami sources. Recent progress in tsunami numerical modeling has increased the possibility of developing a methodology to estimate paleotsunami sources from tsunami deposits. Several previous studies have estimated paleotsunami sources using tsunami sediment transport simulations. However, the accuracy of paleotsunami source estimation has not yet been explored. Thus, to bridge this research gap, in this study, we showed the potential and limitations of deposit-based tsunami source estimation based on the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami deposit data on the southernmost part of the Sendai Plain, northeastern Japan. The tsunamigenic megathrust along the Japan Trench was divided into ten subfaults having similar lengths and widths. The hypothetical source models with varying slips on each subfault were examined by comparing the depositional volume and sediment source of onshore tsunami deposits. Due to limited information on the depositional area of the tsunami deposits used in the modeling, slips only in some parts of the entire tsunami source region could be estimated. The fault slip was slightly overestimated but could be compared with previous well-constrained source models. Thus, these results indicated that vast high-quality datasets of tsunami deposits can improve the accuracy of paleotsunami source estimation. It is also suggested that the amplitude of the receding wave affects the erosion pattern from the shoreface to the nearshore area. Although sufficient data for paleotsunami source estimation are lacking, an effective combination of tsunami deposit data and sediment transport simulations potentially improves the accuracy of the source estimation. The results will contribute to developing a framework of deposit-based paleotsunami source modeling and assessing its accuracy.