Traces of a prehistoric and potentially tsunamigenic mass movement in the sediments of Lake Thun (Switzerland).

Kremer, Katrina; Fabbri, Stefano C; Evers, Frederic M; Schweizer, Nora; Wirth, Stefanie B (2022). Traces of a prehistoric and potentially tsunamigenic mass movement in the sediments of Lake Thun (Switzerland). Swiss journal of geosciences, 115(1), p. 13. Springer 10.1186/s00015-022-00405-0

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Mass movements constitute major natural hazards in the Alpine realm. When triggered on slopes adjacent to lakes, these mass movements can generate tsunami-like waves that may cause additional damage along the shore. For hazard assessment, knowledge about the occurrence, the trigger and the geomechanical and hydrogeological mechanisms of these mass movements is necessary. For reconstructing mass movements that occurred in or adjacent to lakes, the lakes's sedimentary record can be used as an archive. Here, we present a prehistorical mass-movement event, of which the traces were found in an alpine lake, Lake Thun, in central Switzerland. The mass movement is identified by large blocks on the bathymetric map, a chaotic to transparent facies on the reflection seismic profiles, and by a mixture of deformed lake sediments and sandy organic-rich layers in the sediment-core record. The event is dated at 2642-2407 cal year BP. With an estimated volume of ~ 20 × 106 m3 it might have generated a wave with an initial amplitude of > 30 m. In addition to this prehistorical event, two younger deposits were identified in the sedimentary record. One could be dated at 1523-1361 cal year BP and thus can be potentially related to an event in 598/599 AD documented in historical reports. The youngest deposit is dated at 304-151 cal year BP (1646-1799 AD) and is interpreted to be related to the artificial Kander river deviation into Lake Thun (1714 AD).

Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s00015-022-00405-0.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Kremer, Katrina and Fabbri, Stefano Claudio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2022 14:32

Last Modified:

17 Jun 2022 15:19

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Impulse wave Lacustrine tsunami Lake Thun Lake sediments Mass movement Prehistoric




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