Lecture - STEM Education Institute

Depositional evidence of severe typhoons and tsunamis from Kyushu and Shikoku, Japan

Jon Woodruff, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, UMass

Tuesday, March 21, 2017: 4:00pm
Hasbrouck 138

Most STEM seminars are held at 4PM on the first and third Tuesdays of each month during the academic year in Hasbrouck 138.  Everyone is welcome; no reservations are needed, and there is no charge. Parking is available in the nearby Campus Center Garage. Refreshments will be available ten minutes before the lecture begins. 

There is a pressing need for reconstructions of extreme flooding that extend beyond short instrumental datasets. Historical records of flooding in Japan extend back over a millennium and document floods far greater than in modern instrumented observations. For example, the Hōei tsunami of C.E. 1707 is largely thought to have been one of  the largest historical waves to impact eastern Kyushu and southern Shikoku, with relic monuments documenting flood heights in excess of 10 m. With respect to storms, typhoons linked to the failure of Mongol invasion in 1274 and 1281 CE are among the most legendary in the country. Significant uncertainty exists, however, with respect to the accuracy of earlier human accounts for these legendary events. Here we present an analysis of flood-induced event deposits from a network of coastal ponds in Kyushu and southern Shikoku in order to provide an independent evaluation of the 1707 CE tsunami and the two late 13th century typhoons. We find prominent deposits that date to the timing of each of these events and provide support for their occurrence and credibility to their historical significance.


Baranes, H., Woodruff, J.D., Wallace, D. , Kanamaru, K., , and Cook, T., (2016), Sedimentological records of regional and Nankai Trough derived tsunamis from the Bungo Channel, southwestern Japan. Natural Hazards


Woodruff, J.D., Kanamaru, K., Kundu, S. and Cook, T.L., 2015. Depositional evidence for the Kamikaze typhoons and links to changes in typhoon climatology. Geology43(1), pp.91-94.

Event Contact

Holly R. Hargraves
(413) 575-0030