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TitleSedimentary records of coastal storm surges: evidence of the 1953 North Sea event
AuthorSwindles, G T; Galloway, J MORCID logo; Macumber, A L; Croudace, I W; Emery, A R; Woulds, C; Bateman, M D; Parry, L; Jones, J M; Seiby, K; Rushby, G T; Baird, A J; Woodroffe, S A; Barlow, N L M
SourceMarine Geology vol. 403, 2018 p. 262-270, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180084
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
AreaHolkham; Norfolk; North Sea; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Lat/Long WENS -1.9000 -0.2167 52.9667 52.3833
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; stratigraphy; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; coastal environment; coastal erosion; storms; salt marshes; cesium; cesium geochemistry; isotopes; x-ray fluorescence; core analysis; depositional history; cumulative effects; Climate change
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; stratigraphic charts; stratigraphic columns; plots; distribution diagrams
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience Metal Mining: northern baselines
Released2018 06 23
AbstractThe expression of storm events in the geological record is poorly understood; therefore, stratigraphic investigations of known events are needed. The 1953 North Sea storm surge was the largest natural disaster for countries bordering the southern North Sea during the twentieth century. We characterize the spatial distribution of a sand deposit from the 1953 storm surge in a salt marsh at Holkham, Norfolk (UK). Radionuclide measurements, core scanning X-ray fluorescence (Itrax), and particle size analyses, were used to date and characterise the deposit. The deposit occurs at the onset of detectable Cs-137 - coeval with the first testing of nuclear weapons in the early 1950s. The sand layer is derived from material eroded from beach and dunes on the seaward side of the salt marsh. After the depositional event, accumulation of finer-grained silt and clay materials resumed. This work has important implications for understanding the responses of salt marshes to powerful storms and provides a near-modern analogue of storm surge events for calibration of extreme wave events in the geological record.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
In this study we test the utility of ITRAX XRF core scanning for detection and characterization of a known storm surge event in a salt marsh in the UK. This allows us to better develop the utility of this rapidly emerging method of rapid, cost-effective, and non-destructive semi-quantitative means of geochemical determination. Examining the geology of the storm surge event also permits us to better understand the expression of similar events in the rock record. Storm surge and tsunami deposits are generally poorly understood and use of modern analogues advances our ability to recognize and interpret deposits associated with these events in the rock record. This leads to a better understanding of their frequency and impact to increase predictive power and modeling of future extreme events.

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