1994 年 103 巻 4 号 p. 352-376
In 1771, according to several trustworthy historical records, a huge tsunami named the Meiwa Tsunami washed the southern part of the Ryukyu Islands killing about 12, 000 people. The tsunami attributed probably to a large earthquake generated by a submarine thrust fault along the Ryukyu Trench. The southern Ryukyu Islands consisting of Miyako, Irabu, Shimoji, Tarama, Ishigaki, Iriomote and other small islands are fringed by coral reefs, and large Holocene coralline boulders possibly transported by past tsunamis, are extensively distributed on land and reef flats. Among these boulders, those composed of aragonite by 100% or nearly 100% are reliably dated by the radiocarbon method, and are good evidence for inundation, run-up heights and timing of tsunamis in the past.
In order to infer the timing of past tsunamis, we dated samples carefully collected from the uppermost parts of these Holocene coralline boulders and fragments. Based on 65 dates, we restored a tsunami history in the area during the past several thousand years.
Most of the coralline boulders we dated are much older than the age of the Meiwa Tsunami about 200 yr BP. Certain periodical distributions of the ages among the boulders suggest that the area had been attacked by huge tsunamis around 600, 1, 100, 2, 000 and 2, 400 yr BP during the last 3, 000 years. Thus tsunamis which brought tsunami boulders on land occurred repeatedly with intervals of several hundred to one thousand years in the study area.
The tsunamis occurred around 1, 100, 2, 000 and 2, 400 yr BP were judged from the distribution of boulders of similar ages, that they were generated along the Ryukyu Trench while that of 600 yr BP along the Okinawa Trough.
The tsunami about 2, 000 yr BP is most reliably restored among the past tsunamis in the area and is named the “Okinawa-Sakishima Tsunami”. This tsunami attacked an extensive area from Miyako to Ishigaki islands and transported many huge tsunami boulders such as “Tsunami Oishi” deep on land.