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Title: The Hawaiian Islands – integrated approach to understanding
Authors: Chagué-Goff, C
Keywords: HAWAII
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2013
Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013.
Citation: Chagué-Goff, C. (9-13 December, 2013). The Hawaiian Islands – Integrated approach to understanding
Abstract: The Hawaiian Islands, because of their location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, act as natural ';barometers' for tsunamis generated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is the most seismically active area in the world. A multi-proxy study in the remote Pololu valley on the Big Island provided the first evidence for two trans-Pacific events, namely the 1946 and 1957 Aleutian tsunamis. These were identified using radiometric, stratigraphic, microfossil, pollen and geochemical proxies and were corroborated by historical accounts. The islands have been impacted repeatedly by tsunamis in historical times (inc. the recent 2010 Maule and 2011 Tohoku-oki events), and there is strong archaeological evidence for large events affecting humans in prehistory. However, no geological research has yet been carried out, except for some associated with a palaeoecological study on Kauai. Historical evidence shows that tsunamis emanating from the Pacific Ring of Fire have run up to different elevations on different islands within the island chain depending upon their source. Here there is a possible key to understanding some of the key questions about the magnitude and frequency of tsunamis from various parts of the Pacific. Tsunamis from Japan are large on the SW side of the Big Island, those from Alaska seem to have been large in the NE of the island and so on throughout the island chain. A careful site selection from throughout the islands offers a unique opportunity to chart the palaeotsunami record of the Hawaiian Islands while at the same time matching and enhancing the palaeoseismic record of sources in the Pacific Ring of Fire. How big and how often events have occurred in circum-Pacific locations, and how badly they affected other Pacific nations may therefore be addressed by looking in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
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