EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating the sedimentary DNA of palaeotsunami deposits in Thailand.

Wenshu Yap1,2, Adam Switzer1,2, Chris Gouramanis3, Ezequiel Marzinelli4, Winona Wijaya1, Dale Dominey-Howes5, Maurizio Labbate6, Kruawun Jankaew7,8, and Federico Lauro1,9
Wenshu Yap et al.
  • 1Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (
  • 2Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 3Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, ACT, Australia
  • 4School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 5Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 6School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 7Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 8PTTEP, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 9Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Investigating palaeotsunami deposits is a primary way to extend the tsunami database beyond relatively short instrumental and historical records. Such information is essential to reconstruct the frequency and magnitude of past coastal flooding events, which are a key to assess the impact and risk of tsunami to the coastal community. However, palaeotsunami studies are limited as most of the proxies, such as microfossil and geochemical signals, can be modified or degraded with time. Here, we present the application of DNA analysis to investigate a series of palaeotsunami deposits up to ~2800-years-old from a coastal beach ridge sequence on Phra Thong Island (Thailand). Our result shows that it is possible to accurately discriminate palaeotsunami deposits from intercalating organic mud layers using the microbial communities recovered from DNA preserved in the sediment of the geological record. Our work demonstrates that environmental DNA represents a new and promising tool for investigating historical and pre-historical tsunami records.

How to cite: Yap, W., Switzer, A., Gouramanis, C., Marzinelli, E., Wijaya, W., Dominey-Howes, D., Labbate, M., Jankaew, K., and Lauro, F.: Investigating the sedimentary DNA of palaeotsunami deposits in Thailand., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1935,, 2021.

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