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On the varied impact of the Storegga tsunami in northwest Scotland

Woodroffe, Sarah A.; Hill, Jon; Bustamante‐Fernandez, Emmanuel; Lloyd, Jerry M.; Luff, Jake; Richards, Sarah; Shennan, Ian

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Jon Hill

Jake Luff

Sarah Richards


In this paper we evaluate new data and those from previous studies in northwest Scotland and perform a modelling study to test the hypothesis that the Storegga tsunami (submarine slope failure off the continental shelf of Central Norway dated to 8120–8175 bp) impacted this region. The model used is a 2D non-linear, non-conservative, Shallow Water Equation solver incorporating inundation and realistic glacial isostatic adjustment-corrected palaeobathymetry, with horizontal resolution down to 30 m at sites of interest. The 15 coastal study sites analysed range from south of the Isle of Skye to Assynt. We predict run-up between 2.7 and 9.4 m above contemporaneous mean tide level across the region, with the highest on the west coast of the Outer Hebrides, the east coast of Skye and at the head of long sea lochs east of Skye. We re-evaluate evidence from previously studied open coastal marshes, isolation basins and barrier locations for the tsunami and suggest that in many locations the Storegga tsunami is the most likely cause of erosion, deposition and changes in microfossil assemblages in the early Holocene. The predictions of wave height and inundation produced by the tsunami modelling fit well with the range of available field evidence in the region. We predict significant wave heights at least as far south as Mull on the west coast.


Woodroffe, S. A., Hill, J., Bustamante‐Fernandez, E., Lloyd, J. M., Luff, J., Richards, S., & Shennan, I. (2023). On the varied impact of the Storegga tsunami in northwest Scotland. Journal of Quaternary Science,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 13, 2023
Online Publication Date May 30, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 20, 2023
Journal Journal of Quaternary Science
Print ISSN 0267-8179
Electronic ISSN 1099-1417
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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Published Journal Article (4.6 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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