Two new paper have recently been published on the Tohoku Tsunami that devastated the Japanese coast in March, 2011.
In Sedimentary Geology, Chagué-Goff et al. published their results from investigations of chemical markers left by the waves in March, 2011. The authors sampled the tsunamites two, five and seven months after the event and determined the concentrations of chemical markers such as C, Ca, Cl, K, N, S, and Sr.
They also applied that method to the sediments deposited by the 869 AD Jogan Tsunami and found that chemical markers might be a very promising proxy for paleotsunamies, even if the deposits can not be found by classical geological methods anymore. In the future, this could help to draw paleo-inundation maps and to determine the extend/magnitude of paleoevents.
Chagué-Goff, C., Andrew, A., Szczuciński, W., Goff, J., Nishimura, Y., 2012: Geochemical signatures up to the maximum inundation of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami – Implications for the 869 AD Jogan and other palaeotsunamis, Sediment. Geol. (2012), doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.05.021.
In another paper, Chagué-Goff et al. dealt with the environmental impacts of the Tohoku event, mainly caused by the saltwater inundation. In soil samples from the Sendai Plain they found high concentrations of Cl, Na, SO4, and Br. The authors discuss the leaching process after the tsunami and conclude on the possibility of using chemical markers for tsunami detection, see also paper above.
Chagué-Goff, C., Niedzielski, P., Wong, H.K.Y., Szczuciński, W., Sugawara, D., Goff, J., 2012: Environmental impact assessment of the 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami on the Sendai Plain, Sediment. Geol. (2012), doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.06.002.
Many thanks to our colleague Witold for pointing me to the articles!