23-25 September 2013
GEOMAR East shore
Europe/Berlin timezone
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Investigation into the relationship between large submarine landslides and regional sea level

Presented by Ms. Franziska Anna PALM on 23 Sep 2013 from 17:15 to 19:15
Type: Poster presentation
Session: Poster session
Track: Poster presentations


Large landslides (>1 km3) are a globally observed sediment facies- found on active and passive open continental slopes as well as at both high and low latitudes. They represent a significant geohazard due to their potential to create devastating tsunamis and destroy seabed infrastructures. A number of hypotheses for the causes of these landslides have been brought forward, which may be divided into climate-dependent and climate-independent controlling factors. A comparison of landslide timing and frequency with past sea level trends as a proxy for climate change may thus allow distinguishing between these causes. A relationship between landslide frequency and global sea level was not identified by recent studies. However, not all regions where landslides are observed correspond to the mean global sea level trend and local sea level fluctuations may differ significantly from the global trend. The aim of this study is to identify a possible connection between large submarine landslides and regional/local sea level. Sixty-eight landslides and ~1600 sea level reconstruction points from thirteen regions in which large landslides have occurred were collated from previously published data. An objective reliability index was used to evaluate the quality of the combined landslide timing and sea level data, taking into account the uncertainties involved with both the landslide age estimation and sea level reconstruction. Fifty-one landslides occurred in regions in which sea level data followed the global sea level trend while, eight occurred in regions in which sea level data did not follow the global sea level trend. Nine landslides had to be rejected due to a lack in local sea level data. We did not identified periods of considerable increased landslide frequency, which might indicate that triggers are climate-independent.


Location: GEOMAR East shore
Address: Wischhofstr. 1-3 / D-24148 Kiel
Room: Lithothek

Primary authors



  • Ms. Morelia URLAUB GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research
  • Mark E. VARDY Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton University of Southampton Waterfront Campus, Southampton, UK