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Multiple late-Holocene tsunami landfall i in the eastern Gulf of Corinth recorded in the palaeotsunami geo-archive at Lechaion, harbour of ancient Corinth (Peloponnese, Greece)

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In this paper, we present geomorphological and geo-scientific evidence of repeated tsunami impact on Lechaion, the harbour of ancient Corinth (Peloponnese, Greece) and adjacent coastal zones of the Gulf of Corinth. Due to extensive fault systems, the seismic activity in the Gulf of Corinth is high and often related to landslides or submarine mass movements. Thus, the study area is strongly exposed to tsunami hazard. Geomorphological, sedimentological, geoarchaeological, geochemical and microfaunal studies as well as geophysical methods revealed evidence of multiple palaeotsunami landfall at the harbour site and surrounding coastal area. Tsunami signatures include coarse-grained, sandy to gravelly allochthonous marine sediments intersecting silt-dominated quiescent harbour deposits, geo-archaeological destruction layers as well as extensive units of beachrock-type calcarenitic tsunamites. A local event-geochronostratigraphy was established by radiocarbon dating and geoarchaeological findings. Our results suggest that Lechaion was hit by strong tsunami impacts in the 8 – 6 century BC, the 1st – 2nd century AD and in the 6 century AD. The youngest event obviously led to the final destruction of harbour facilities and the early Christian harbour basilica.

Dieser Beitrag präsentiert geomorphologische und geowissenschaftliche Belege für den Einfluss von Tsunami-Ereignissen auf Lechaion, den Hafen des antiken Korinth im gleichnamigen Golf (Peloponnes, Griechenland). Bedingt durch zahlreiche tektonische Störungen zeigt der Golf von Korinth eine hohe seismische Aktivität, die häufig zu Erdrutschen oder submarinen Rutschungen führt. Das Untersuchungsgebiet ist daher einem sehr hohen Tsunami-Risiko ausgesetzt.

Geomorphologische, sedimentologische, geoarchäologische, geochemische und mikrofaunistische Studien sowie geophysikalische Untersuchungsmethoden liefern Belege für den wiederholten Einfluss von Paläotsunami- Ereignissen auf den Hafen und seine nähere Umgebung. Die Befunde für Tsunami-Ereignisse umfassen grobkörnige, meist sandig-kiesige allochthone marine Sedimente, die in vorwiegend schluffige autochthone, ruhige Hafensedimente eingeschaltet sind, geoarchäologische Zerstörungslagen sowie ausgedehnte Vorkommen verfestigter, beachrockartiger Tsunamite.

Die hier vorgestellte lokale Ereignis-Geochronostratigraphie basiert auf Radiokohlenstoffdatierungen sowie geoarchäologischen Befunden. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Lechaion zwischen dem 8. und 6. Jahrhundert v. Chr. sowie im 1. – 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr. von einem starken Tsunami-Ereignis betroffen war. Ein drittes Ereignis führte im frühen 6. Jahrhundert n. Chr. zur Zerstörung der Hafenanlage und der frühchristlichen Hafenbasilika.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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  • Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie main volume is a peer-reviewed international journal presenting original contributions of high scientific standard from all fields of geomorphology, encompassing basic research and applied studies. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (ZfG) invites the submission of original papers from the entire field of geomorphological research, both applied and theoretical. Authors are encouraged to submit their papers to the editor-in-chief. Please peruse the instructions to authors (PDF) before submitting your paper.

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