Relationships Between Coastal and Fluvial Geomorphology and Inundation Processes of the Tsunami Flow Caused by the 2011 off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake

  • Hiroshi ShimazuEmail author


Spatial characteristics of tsunami flow caused by the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake were described focusing the relationships between tsunami inundation processes and coastal and fluvial geomorphology in the northern and middle coast of the Tohoku district. Different tsunami inundation processes were recognized in the four types of areas having different geomorphological characteristics, the Miyako City area in the valley bottom plain of the Hei River , Otsuchi area of small coastal lowland with small rivers, the Aneyoshi area of a tiny cove with a small and steep slope stream, and the Natori River , and surroundings in the Sendai Plain largest plain in Tohoku district. The megatsunami got over the seawalls to inundate coastal lowlands and valley bottom plain, and it also ascended banked rivers . The tsunami flow ascending the banked river reached upstream area faster than the inundated flow in the habitation side of the floodplain . The tsunami flow in the river got over the river embankments to flood the habitation side. In the coastal area, the deep tsunami flow directly inundated landward is less affected by geomorphological characteristics and it caused geomorphological processes by erosion and sedimentation on land. The tsunami flow ascending the steep slope and small valley reached high elevation area whose elevation was double of the tsunami height in the coast. In the coastal and valley bottom plains, depth of the tsunami flow got shallower landward. In the landward area, the extent of the shallower tsunami flow was strongly affected not only by geomorphological characteristics but also by artificial constructions . In the area near the landward limit of tsunami inundation, micro-landforms , such as former river courses , affected tsunami inundation processes and spatial characteristics of the tsunami flow.


Tsunami inundation process Coastal geomorphology Fluvial geomorphology Banked river The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography Faculty of Geo-Environmental ScienceRissho UniversityTokyoJapan

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