Mega-tsunami conglomerates and flank collapses of ocean island volcanoes

Raphaël Paris*, Ricardo S. Ramalho, José Madeira, Sérgio Ávila, Simon Matthias May, Gilles Rixhon, Max Engel, Helmut Brückner, Manuel Herzog, Gerd Schukraft, Francisco José Perez-Torrado, Alejandro Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Juan Carlos Carracedo, Thomas Giachetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
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Marine conglomerates at high elevation on the flanks of ocean islands are usually interpreted as evidence of mega-tsunamis generated by volcano flank collapses, although their origin is sometimes debated (elevated littorals vs. tsunami). In this review, we introduce case studies of well-documented examples of tsunami conglomerates in Hawaii (Pacific Ocean), the Canary and Cape Verde Islands (Atlantic Ocean), and Mauritius Island (Indian Ocean). Other less-documented marine conglomerates are also presented as tsunami candidates. Then, we build a comprehensive picture of the general characteristics of these conglomerates and the different methods that can be applied to date them. Different perspectives of research are proposed, especially on the use of tsunami conglomerates as proxies for better constraining numerical models of ocean island flank collapses and associated tsunamis. We also discuss the possible links between volcano growth, flank instability, and climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-187
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Geology
Early online date13 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2017


  • Canary Islands
  • Cape Verde Islands
  • Conglomerate
  • Hawaii
  • Landslide
  • Oceanic shield volcanoes
  • Tsunami
  • Volcano instability


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