Block and boulder accumulations along the coastline between Fins and Sur (Sultanate of Oman): tsunamigenic remains?
The rocky coastline of the Sultanate of Oman between Fins and Sur is decorated by a number of large blocks and boulder accumulations forming ramparts. The blocks occur as individual rocks of up to 40 tons, as imbricated sets and as “boulder trains.” Landward, the deposits change into a sand/boulder mixture and distal into sands. The coast is made up of Tertiary folded limestones and beach rock of Quaternary age, both also constitute the megaclasts. The transport distance from the fractured seaward platform of 6–10 m above mean sea level varies between 20 m and more than 50 m. We found individual blocks of recent corals and overturned blocks with attached oysters and rock pools. Terrestrial laser scanning was used to analyze geomorphologic features as well as for volumetric estimates of the block weights. Tropical cyclones such as Gonu in 2007 or Phet in 2010 are known to have affected Oman’s coastline in the past. The coastal changes during recent cyclones were minor; therefore, we interpret the block deposits as tsunamigenic. However, this interpretation is not unambiguous. The most likely source area for a tsunami is seen in the Makran Subduction Zone situated in the northern Indian Ocean. Here, at least 4–5 tsunamigenic earthquakes are documented.