The Hulopoe Gravel, Lanai, Hawaii: New Sedimentological Data and their Bearing on the “Giant Wave” (Mega-Tsunami) Emplacement Hypothesis
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—Recognition that many oceanic islands are shaped by giant landslides has highlighted claims that the Hulopoe Gravel on south Lanai, Hawaii, was deposited by giant waves (mega-tsunami) generated by such a landslide. This interpretation is controversial. Resolution of the controversy has global implications because mass wasting of oceanic islands has been a common process for as long as hot spot volcanism has affected the ocean basins. Thus, if mega-tsunami are attendant upon the mass wasting process, their effect on earth surface processes should be discernible for much of geological time and may be comparable to that resulting from bolide impacts that form astroblemes.¶Detailed facies analysis of the pebble, cobble and boulder gravels that form the Hulopoe Gravel type section shows that the gravels are composed predominantly of basalt clasts with appreciable amounts of limestone clasts in 8 of the 14 beds present. Deposition was not continuous: eight disconformities are recognized in the 9.2 m type section, three of which are associated with truncated paleosols. The Hulopoe Gravel was not deposited by a single tsunami at 105 ka, as has been proposed. One bed is clearly an alluvial deposit. The origins of others are unclear but the facies data do not exclude tsunami as one of the processes that deposited individual beds within the Hulopoe Gravel, either above or below sea level.
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