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Models of late-glacial environmental change in coastal areas are commonly based on radiocarbon ages on marine shell and basal lake sediments, both of which may be compromised by reservoir effects. The magnitude of the oceanic reservoir age in the inland waters of the Georgia Basin and Puget Lowland of northwestern North America is inferred from radiocarbon ages on shell-wood pairs in Saanich Inlet and previously published estimates. The weighted mean oceanic reservoir correction in the early and mid Holocene is −720±90 yr, slightly smaller than, but not significantly different from, the modern value. The correction in late-glacial time is −950±50 yr. Valley-head sites yield higher reservoir values (−1200±130 yr) immediately after deglaciation. The magnitude of the gyttja reservoir effect is inferred from pairs of bulk gyttja and plant macrofossil ages from four lakes in the region. Incorporation of old carbon into basal gyttja yields ages from bulk samples that are initially about 600 yr too old. The reservoir age declines to less than 100 yr after the first millennium of lake development. When these corrections are accounted for, dates of deglaciation and late-glacial sea-level change in the study area are pushed forward in time by more than 500 yr.
Although subaerial and subaqueous landslides have been responsible for many tsunamis in high-relief coastal areas around the world, routine assessments of these hazards are rarely undertaken. Assessment must draw on the expertise of geoscientists, engineers, and hydrodynamicists, and requires analyses of both the landslide and the resulting waves. Landslide tsunami assessments aim to determine:
occurrences of past events
likelihood of future occurrences
magnitudes of past events
locations experiencing greatest impact
conditions and triggers that led to failure
wave characteristics and coastal run-up.
Key assessment considerations include the geologic evidence of past failures, both subaerial and subaqueous, and the written or oral history of past events. These can aid in determining whether further assessment studies are warranted. The general paucity of observations of past events, however, makes empirical assessment difficult. As a consequence, physical and numerical modeling are critical tools in characterizing the phenomena. Because modern numerical models are fast to run and relatively inexpensive, they are now widely used for specific case studies. Much can be learned before failures occur in areas prone to tsunamigenic landslides. Hydrodynamic modeling, combined with geologic and geotechnical evidence, can be used to assess the tsunamigenic potential of landslides. Although definitive estimates of the frequency of occurrence and magnitude of tsunamigenic events are difficult to make, analyses can place valuable constraints on the siting and design of coastal facilities.
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