Microtextural characteristics of quartz grains transported and deposited by tsunamis and storms

Pedro J.M. Costa, C Andrade, A.G. Dawson, W C Mahaney, M C Freitas, R Paris, R Taborda

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72 Citations (Scopus)


The complex transport and depositional processes associated with tsunamis and storms and the peculiarities of local inundation present questions associated with the recognition and differentiation of the sedimentary signature of these events. This work presents a study of quartz grains transported and deposited by tsunami and storm waves with the objective of identifying specific microtextural signatures caused by high-energy marine inundations and to correlate them with their principal sedimentary sources. In this empirical study, 1150 quartz grains (78 samples) and their microtextural signatures were observed, analyzed and classified using scanning electron microscope photomicrographs. The results suggest that although no specific microtextural signature is associated with high energy inundations, there are strong increases in the percentage of fresh surfaces and percussion marks when compared with the potential source material. Moreover, tsunami and storm grains present the greatest microtextural variance among all the grains analyzed. Nevertheless, specific local conditions and sediment concentrations constrain the microtextural implications on tsunami or storm grains. One laboratory experiment was designed to test microtextural implications in grains subjected to variable velocities, sediment concentration and time. The surface microscopic signature in quartz grains of high-energy events further contributes to the development of more efficient sedimentological criteria to identify deposits associated with tsunami and storm events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalSedimentary Geology
Issue number-
Early online date1 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

REF Impact Factor Sed Geol = 2.30


  • tsunami
  • storm
  • exoscopy
  • Portugal
  • Scotland
  • Indonesia


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