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A fluvially derived flood deposit dating to the Kamikaze typhoons near Nagasaki, Japan

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Previous studies in western Kyushu revealed prominent marine-derived flood deposits that date to the late thirteenth-century and are interpreted to be a result of two legendary typhoons linked to the failed Mongol invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. The regional persistence and prominence of sediments dating to these “Kamikaze” typhoon events (meaning divine wind) raise questions about the origins of these late thirteenth-century deposits. This is due in part to uncertainty in distinguishing between tsunami and storm-induced deposition. To provide additional insight into the true cause of prominent late thirteenth-century flood deposits in western Kyushu, we present a detailed assessment of an additional event deposit dating to the late thirteenth-century from Lake Kawahara near Nagasaki, Japan. This particular deposit thickens landward towards the primary river flowing into Lake Kawahara and exhibits anomalously low Sr/Ti ratios that are consistent with a fluvial rather than a marine sediment source. When combined with previous flood reconstructions, results support the occurrence of an extreme, late thirteenth-century event that was associated with both intense marine- and river-derived flooding. Results therefore contribute to a growing line of evidence for the Kamikaze typhoons resulting in widespread flooding in the region, rather than the late thirteenth-century deposit being associated with a significant tsunami impact to western Kyushu.

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Funding and supporting instrumentation were primarily provided by U.S. National Science Foundation (Award #1630090 and Instrument and Facilities Grant #171928).

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Correspondence to Caroline Ladlow.

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Ladlow, C., Woodruff, J.D., Cook, T.L. et al. A fluvially derived flood deposit dating to the Kamikaze typhoons near Nagasaki, Japan. Nat Hazards 99, 827–841 (2019).

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