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Lake dwellers occupation gap in Lake Geneva (France–Switzerland) possibly explained by an earthquake–mass movement–tsunami event during Early Bronze Age

Published inEarth and planetary science letters, vol. 385, p. 28-39
Publication date2014
Abstract

High-resolution seismic and sediment core data from the ‘Grand Lac' basin of Lake Geneva reveal traces of repeated slope instabilities with one main slide-evolved mass-flow (minimum volume 0.13 km3) that originated from the northern lateral slope of the lake near the city of Lausanne. Radiocarbon dating of organic remains sampled from the top of the main deposit gives an age interval of 1865–1608 BC. This date coincides with the age interval for a mass movement event described in the ‘Petit Lac' basin of Lake Geneva (1872–1622 BC). Because multiple mass movements took place at the same time in different parts of the lake, we consider the most likely trigger mechanism to be a strong earthquake (Mw 6) that occurred in the period between 1872 and 1608 BC. Based on numerical simulations, we show the major deposit near Lausanne would have generated a tsunami with local wave heights of up to 6 m. The combined effects of the earthquake and the following tsunami provide a possible explanation for a gap in lake dwellers occupation along the shores of Lake Geneva revealed by dendrochronological dating of two palafitte archaeological sites

Keywords
  • Lake dwellers
  • Lake Geneva
  • Mass movement
  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami
  • Sediment record
Funding
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 200021-121666 et R'Equip133790
  • Autre - Fondation Ernest et Lucie Schmidheiny; Fondation Ernest Boninchi
Citation (ISO format)
KREMER, Katrina et al. Lake dwellers occupation gap in Lake Geneva (France–Switzerland) possibly explained by an earthquake–mass movement–tsunami event during Early Bronze Age. In: Earth and planetary science letters, 2014, vol. 385, p. 28–39. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.017
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Article (Published version)
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0012-821X
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