A late Holocene tsunami at Basta Voe, Yell, Shetland Isles

Alastair G. Dawson* (Corresponding Author), Sue Dawson, Stein Bondevik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A distinctive sand layer enclosed within Holocene peat is described from Basta Voe, Isle of Yell, Shetland Isles. The sand layer, that can be traced considerable distances inland and up to a maximum altitude of c. + 9 m OD, is here interpreted as having been deposited by a former tsunami. AMS dating appears to indicate that the tsunami occurred between 1300-1570 cal years BP. At present, the tsunami has no known source mechanism although the most likely mechanism is thought to have been an offshore slump or slide. The available information would presently seem to indicate that this tsunami was restricted to the eastern coastline of Shetland. The relatively young age of this inferred tsunami is of considerable importance to planners and engineers concerned with estimating coastal flood frequency and magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

First account of evidence for a former tsunami of this particular age


  • Basta Voe
  • Shetland Isles
  • palaeotsunami
  • tsunami deposits
  • coastal flood risk
  • Scotland


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