Tsunami or storm surge? NTU scientists find clues in the unseen

Adam Switzer (right) and Chris Gourmanis core sediment samples from storm deposits in Phra Thong Island.
Adam Switzer (right) and Chris Gourmanis core sediment samples from storm deposits in Phra Thong Island.PHOTO: YAP WENSHU

SINGAPORE - A research team from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has come one step closer to solving a riddle that has troubled geologists for years: Determining if traces of a coastal flooding event were left by a tsunami or a storm.

They found that the key to distinguishing the two events was not in how the sediments looked, but in what they contained: Tsunamis and storm surges leave behind sediments with unique microbial signatures.

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