Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 149–164 | Cite as

Progress in the Study of Coastal Storm Deposits

  • Haixian Xiong
  • Guangqing HuangEmail author
  • Shuqing Fu
  • Peng Qian


Numerous studies have been carried out to identify storm deposits and decipher storm-induced sedimentary processes in coastal and shallow-marine areas. This study aims to provide an in-depth review on the study of coastal storm deposits from the following five aspects. 1) The formation of storm deposits is a function of hydrodynamic and sedimentary processes under the constraints of local geological and ecological factors. Many questions remain to demonstrate the genetic links between storm-related processes and a variety of resulting deposits such as overwash deposits, underwater deposits and hummocky cross-stratification (HCS). Future research into the formation of storm deposits should combine flume experiments, field observations and numerical simulations, and make full use of sediment source tracing methods. 2) Recently there has been rapid growth in the number of studies utilizing sediment provenance analysis to investigate the source of storm deposits. The development of source tracing techniques, such as mineral composition, magnetic susceptibility, microfossil and geochemical property, has allowed for better understanding of the depositional processes and environmental changes associated with coastal storms. 3) The role of extreme storms in the sedimentation of low-lying coastal wetlands with diverse ecosystem services has also drawn a great deal of attention. Many investigations have attempted to quantify widespread land loss, vertical marsh sediment accumulation and wetland elevation change induced by major hurricanes. 4) Paleostorm reconstructions based on storm sedimentary proxies have shown many advantages over the instrumental records and historic documents as they allow for the reconstruction of storm activities on millennial or longer time scales. Storm deposits having been used to establish proxies mainly include beach ridges and shelly cheniers, coral reefs, estuary-deltaic storm sequences and overwash deposits. Particularly over the past few decades, the proxies developed from overwash deposits have successfully retrieved many records of storm activities during the mid to late Holocene worldwide. 5) Distinguishing sediments deposited by storms and tsunamis is one of the most difficult issues among the many aspects of storm deposit studies. Comparative studies have investigated numerous diagnostic evidences including hydrodynamic condition, landward extent, grain property, texture and grading, thickness, microfossil assemblage and landscape conformity. Perhaps integrating physical, biological and geochemical evidences will, in the future, allow unambiguous identification of tsunami deposits and storm deposits.


storm deposits depositional process sediment provenance paleostorm reconstruction coastal wetland tsunami deposits 


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© Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haixian Xiong
    • 1
    • 3
  • Guangqing Huang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shuqing Fu
    • 2
  • Peng Qian
    • 4
  1. 1.Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangzhou Institute of GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of GeographyNantong UniversityNantongChina

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