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Volume 18, issue 5 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1411-1425, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1411-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 May 2018

Research article | 23 May 2018

Characteristics and frequency of large submarine landslides at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth

Arnaud Beckers1,2,a, Aurelia Hubert-Ferrari1, Christian Beck2, George Papatheodorou3, Marc de Batist4, Dimitris Sakellariou5, Efthymios Tripsanas6, and Alain Demoulin1 Arnaud Beckers et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Liège, allée du 6 août 2, 4000 Liège, Belgium
  • 2ISTerre, CNRS UMR5275, University of Savoie, 73376 Le Bourget du Lac, France
  • 3Department of Geology, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
  • 4Department of Geology and Soil Science, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • 5Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Center for Marine Research, 19013 Anavyssos, Greece
  • 6Gnosis Geosciences, Edinburgh, EH10 5JN, UK
  • anow at: CSD Engineers, Namur Office Park 2, Avenue des dessus de Lives, 5101 Namur, Belgium

Abstract. Coastal and submarine landslides are frequent at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth, where small to medium failure events (106–107m3) occur on average every 30–50 years. These landslides trigger tsunamis and consequently represent a significant hazard. We use here a dense grid of high-resolution seismic profiles to realize an inventory of the large mass transport deposits (MTDs) that result from these submarine landslides. Six large mass wasting events are identified, and their associated deposits locally represent 30% of the sedimentation since 130ka in the main western basin. In the case of a large MTD of  ∼ 1km3 volume, the simultaneous occurrence of different slope failures is inferred and suggests an earthquake triggering. However, the overall temporal distribution of MTDs would result from the time-dependent evolution of pre-conditioning factors rather than from the recurrence of external triggers. Two likely main pre-conditioning factors are (1) the reloading time of slopes, which varied with the sedimentation rate, and (2) dramatic changes in water depth and water circulation that occurred 10–12ka ago during the last post-glacial transgression. Such sliding events likely generated large tsunami waves in the whole Gulf of Corinth, possibly larger than those reported in historical sources considering the observed volume of the MTDs.

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Coastal and submarine landslides occur on average every 30–50 years at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth. These landslides trigger tsunamis and thus represent a significant hazard. We realized an inventory of the submarine landslide deposits in the western Gulf. Six large events are identified in the last 130 000 years. Such sliding events likely generated large tsunami waves in the whole Gulf of Corinth, possibly larger than those reported in historical sources.
Coastal and submarine landslides occur on average every 30–50 years at the western tip of the...
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