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1st International Tsunami Field Symposium, Bonaire, 2006 – Conference Report


1st International Tsunami Field Symposium, Bonaire, 2006 – Conference Report


IGCP 495
(also sponsored by the Commission on Coastal Systems of IGU)

Captain Don’s Habitat, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

2nd – 4th March, 2006

(i.e. arrival on Bonaire Island in the evening of March 1st and departure in the evening of March 4th or morning of March 5th (i.e. 4 nights and 3 days).

Dr Anja Scheffers and Professor Dieter Kelletat, Department of Geography, University Duisburg – Essen, Germany, e-mail: [email protected].

Conference Report

As one of the activities of IGCP 495 the “First International Tsunami Field Symposium”, organised by Anja Scheffers (Essen University, Germany) and co-sponsored by the NOAA Sea Grant Program by the efforts of Professor Aurelio Mercado from Puerto Rico, took place on Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) March 2nd – 4th, 2006. It was attended by 24 scientists from 10 countries (Bonaire, USA, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Argentina, South Africa, France, Spain, Italy and Germany). 15 paper presentations dealt with Paleo-tsunami field studies (Caribbean and Mediterranean), the SE-Asian tsunami of 2004, and differentiation of storm and tsunami deposits, tsunami forecasting as well as modelling techniques. The main emphasis of the meeting, however, was on three field trips, visiting nearly all coastlines of Bonaire. As Bonaire is a perfect natural laboratory for the study of extreme events on rocky shorelines and coral reefs, the different aspects of coarse hurricane deposits (from Lenny in 1999, Ivan in 2004, Tecla in 1877 and an older storm about 600 years ago) compared with the extreme forces of several Younger Holocene tsunami have been studied in detail. The extraordinary amount of deposits (several million tons during one event) as well as the size of dislocated boulders (50 to over 200 tons) led to discussions on transport mechanisms and the physics of wave impacts. Bonaire also presents the only place (so far identified) where a strong Holocene tsunami extinguished a well developed fringing reef, which had not recovered during the last 3000 years. On several subjects the field discussions came to a general consensus on processes, but still challenging is the perspective of different disciplines (geology, geomorphology), different approaches (deductive/inductive) methods in tsunami research, or the view angle of paleo-tsunami- versus modern tsunami researchers.

The proceedings of the meeting will be published as Special Volume 145 of Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie at the end of 2006.

It was agreed that a Second International Tsunami Field Symposium will be organised in 2008 in southern Italy by Professor Guiseppe Mastronuzzi and Professor Paolo Sansó and western Greece by Professor Helmut Brückner and Dr Andreas Vött.