The accumulation of large boulders related to waves generated either by tsunamis or extreme storm events has been observed in dierent areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the NE and E low-lying rocky coasts of Malta tens of large boulder deposits have been surveyed, measured and mapped. These boulders have been detached and moved from the seafloor and lowest parts of the coast by the action of sea waves. In the Sicily–Malta channel, heavy storms are common and originate from the NE and NW winds. Conversely, few severe earthquakes and tsunamis are recorded in historical documents to have hit the Maltese archipelago, originated by seismicity activity related 10 mainly to the Malta Escarpment, the Sicily Channel Rift Zone and the Hellenic Arc. We present a multi-disciplinary study, which aims to define the characteristics of the boulder accumulations along the eastern coast of Malta, in order to assess the coastal geo-hazard implications triggered by the sheer ability of extreme waves to detach and move large rocky blocks inland. 15 The wave heights required to transport coastal boulders were calculated using various hydrodynamic equations. Particular attention was devoted to the quantification of the input parameters required in the workings of these equations. The axis sizes of blocks were measured with 3-D digital photogrammetric techniques and their densities were obtained throughout the use of a N-type Schmidt Hammer. Moreover, AMS ages 20 were obtained from selected marine organisms encrusted on some of the boulders in various coastal sites. The combination of the results obtained by hydrodynamic equations and the radiocarbon dating suggests that the majority of the boulders has been detached and moved by intense storm waves. Nonetheless, it is possible that some of them may have been transported by tsunami.

Boulder accumulations related to extreme wave events on the eastern coast of Malta

DI STEFANO, Agata;MONACO, Carmelo Giovanni;
2016

Abstract

The accumulation of large boulders related to waves generated either by tsunamis or extreme storm events has been observed in dierent areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the NE and E low-lying rocky coasts of Malta tens of large boulder deposits have been surveyed, measured and mapped. These boulders have been detached and moved from the seafloor and lowest parts of the coast by the action of sea waves. In the Sicily–Malta channel, heavy storms are common and originate from the NE and NW winds. Conversely, few severe earthquakes and tsunamis are recorded in historical documents to have hit the Maltese archipelago, originated by seismicity activity related 10 mainly to the Malta Escarpment, the Sicily Channel Rift Zone and the Hellenic Arc. We present a multi-disciplinary study, which aims to define the characteristics of the boulder accumulations along the eastern coast of Malta, in order to assess the coastal geo-hazard implications triggered by the sheer ability of extreme waves to detach and move large rocky blocks inland. 15 The wave heights required to transport coastal boulders were calculated using various hydrodynamic equations. Particular attention was devoted to the quantification of the input parameters required in the workings of these equations. The axis sizes of blocks were measured with 3-D digital photogrammetric techniques and their densities were obtained throughout the use of a N-type Schmidt Hammer. Moreover, AMS ages 20 were obtained from selected marine organisms encrusted on some of the boulders in various coastal sites. The combination of the results obtained by hydrodynamic equations and the radiocarbon dating suggests that the majority of the boulders has been detached and moved by intense storm waves. Nonetheless, it is possible that some of them may have been transported by tsunami.
Maltese islands; tsunami; boulder accumulations
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/18171
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