Coastal boulder deposits are a consequence of high-energy wave impacts, such as storms, hurricanes or tsunami. Distinguishing parameters between storm, hurricane and tsunami origin are distance of a deposit from the coast, boulder weight and inferred wave height. Formulas to calculate minimum wave heights of both storm and tsunami waves depend on accurate determination of boulder dimensions and lithology from the respective deposits. At present however, boulder porosity appears to be commonly neglected, leading to significant errors in determined bulk density, especially when boulders consist of reef or coral limestone. This limits precise calculations of wave heights and hampers a clear distinction between storm, hurricane and tsunami origin. Our study uses Archimedean and optical 3D-profilometry measurements for the determination of porosities and bulk densities of reef and coral limestone boulders from the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (ABC Islands, Netherlands Antilles). Due to the high porosities (up to 68 %) of the enclosed coral species, the weights of the reef rock boulders are as low as 20 % of previously calculated values. Hence minimum calculated heights both for tsunami and hurricane waves are smaller than previously proposed. We show that hurricane action appears to be the likely depositional mechanism for boulders on the ABC Islands, since 1) our calculations result in tsunami wave heights which do not permit the overtopping of coastal platforms on the ABC Islands, 2) boulder fields lie on the windward (eastern) sides of the islands, 3) recent hurricanes transported boulders up to 35 m3 and 4) the scarcity of tsunami events affecting the coasts of the ABC Islands compared to frequent impacts of tropical storms and hurricanes.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 3022 Marine sediments: processes and transport