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The impact of the 1945 Makran tsunami along the coastlines of the Arabian Sea (Northern Indian Ocean) – a review

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The Makran Subduction Zone marks the plate boundary between the Arabian and Eurasian plate within the northern Arabian Sea. The only instrumentally recorded earthquake (MW 8.1) that triggered a tsunami along this subduction zone occurred on 27 November, 1945. We summarise and review individual observations of both: earthquake and tsunami. Published scientific reports, newspaper articles as well as eyewitness accounts are used. The information gathered reveals the impact along the shorelines of the Arabian Sea. It is evident that the most severe impact was encountered along the Pakistani shoreline in close proximity to the epicentre of the earthquake. Additionally, the low lying Indus river delta was severely affected. The most distant record of the tsunami is located on the Seychelles Islands; 3,400 km from the epicentre.

The tsunami was observed along the eastern shoreline of Oman. Several eyewitnesses report that the sea rose unexpectedly. A storm event is excluded, as such would have been recognised beforehand. The damages reported for the Omani coastline are only minor. However, locally the coastline is decorated by boulder and block deposits. These are interpreted as indicative for palaeo-tsunami with higher run-ups.

The total number of casualties along the entire area of impact is estimated in the order of a couple of hundreds. Reports of several thousand casualties are exaggerated and derive from early estimations that were not confirmed.
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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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