Researcher Information


Associate Professor

Paleoseismology: a key to construct the long-term prediction of huge subduction earthquakes

Institute of Seismology and Volcanology, Ocean Bottom Seismology and Tsunami


We are studying histprical and prehistorical tsunami deposits and liquefaction evidences throgh reviewing the ancient documents and geological fieldwork.

FieldPaleoseismology, Tsunami geology, Natural disaster science
Keywordtsunami, tsunami deposit, paleo-earthquake, ancient document, volcanic tephra, peat, liquefaction, sand blow, disaster mitigation, hazard map

Introduction of Research

We investigate the recurrence features of huge subduction earthquakes and gigantic tsunamis from the traces of tsunami deposits. Along the Kuril trench off the Pacific coast of Hokkaido, the probability of an earthquake accompanied by a huge tsunami is highly considered based on the tsunami geology. Figure 1 shows a trench wall in which we can see 10 tsunami layers in the last 5000 years. The peal of this section is exhibited at the Hokkaido University Museum. Research on tsunami and liquefaction deposits is still a young field. So, it is necessary to advance method to find and identify the evidence and accumulate case studies. In Hokkaido, there are many natural coastal wetlands that are suitable for the survey. Recently, we also conducted the survey in cooperation with Russia in the Kunashiri Island (Figure 2) and the Primorye coast (Figure 3).

Tsunami-induced sandy layers found in a natural peat in Urahoro, Hokkaido.
Tsunami deposit survey in Kunashiri Island.
Tsunami deposit suvey in the Primorye coast, Russia.

Representative Achievements

Nishimura, Y., 2017, From fresh tsunami deposit to paleotsunami deposit: Preservation and disappearance of the 2011 Tohoku-Oki tsunami deposit along the Misawa coast, northern Japan. Proceedings of the 8th International INQUA Meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archeoseismology (PATA), 13 – 16 November, 2017, New Zealand, pp. 284-286.
Nishimura, Y. and Jaffe, B., 2015, Tsunami geology in paleoseismology. In “The contribution of paleoseismology to seismic hazard assessment in site evaluation for nuclear installations”, IAEA-TECDOC-1767, 66-81.
Nishimura, Y., Researches of past Earthquakes Based on Time-Space Distribution of Tsunami Deposits, Sizhin, 61, s497-s508, 2009. (in Japanese with English abstract) .
Nishimura, Y., Volcanism-induced tsunamis and tsunamiites. in "Tsunamiite", T.Shiki ed., 163-184, 2008.
Nishimura, Y. and Miyaji, N., Tsunami Deposits from the 1993 Southwest Hokkaido Earthquake and the 1640 Hokkaido Komagatake Eruption, Northern Japan. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 144, 719-733, 1995.
Academic degreePh.D.
Affiliated academic societyThe Seismologocal Sciety of Japan, The Volcanological Sciety of Japan, Japan Society for natural Disaster Science, Society of Historical Earthquake Studies
Room addressFaculty of Science Building No.4 4-201