Sediment cores from Karagan Lagoon in southeastern Sri Lanka retrieved deposits from the A.D. 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and older similar deposits that provide evidence for a tsunami 2417 ± 152 cal. (calendar) yr B.P. to 2925 ± 98 cal. yr B.P., and for six tsunamis between 4064 ± 128 cal. yr B.P. and 6665 ± 110 cal. yr B.P., a period for which the sediment record appears continuous. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the recurrence interval is variable, ranging from 181-517 yr to 1045 ± 334 yr, with a mean recurrence interval of 434 ± 40 yr during the ca. 4000-7000 cal. yr B.P. continuous interval. Assuming that these tsunamis were generated by giant earthquakes along the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone, a reasonable assumption for this far-field transoceanic location, this record extends the giant-earthquake history for the Indian Ocean region. The longest recurrence interval of more than 1000 yr implies that earthquakes along the subduction zone may reach twice the size of the 2004 earthquake.
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