Article barrier islands resilience to extreme events: Do earthquake and tsunami play a role?

Ella Meilianda*, Franck Lavigne, Biswajeet Pradhan, Patrick Wassmer, Darusman Darusman, Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Barrier islands are indicators of coastal resilience. Previous studies have proven that barrier islands are surprisingly resilient to extreme storm events. At present, little is known about barrier systems’ resilience to seismic events triggering tsunamis, co-seismic subsidence, and liquefaction. The objective of this study is, therefore, to investigate the morphological resilience of the barrier islands in responding to those secondary effects of seismic activity of the Sumatra–Andaman subduction zone and the Great Sumatran Fault system. Spatial analysis in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) was utilized to detect shoreline changes from the multi-source datasets of centennial time scale, including old topographic maps and satellite images from 1898 until 2017. Additionally, the earthquake and tsunami records and established conceptual models of storm effects to barrier systems, are corroborated to support possible forcing factors analysis. Two selected coastal sections possess different geomorphic settings are investigated: (1) Lambadeuk, the coast overlying the Sumatran Fault system, (2) Kuala Gigieng, located in between two segments of the Sumatran Fault System. Seven consecutive pairs of comparable old topographic maps and satellite images reveal remarkable morphological changes in the form of breaching, landward migrating, sinking, and complete disappearing in different periods of observation. While semi-protected embayed Lambadeuk is not resilient to repeated co-seismic land subsidence, the wave-dominated Kuala Gigieng coast is not resilient to the combination of tsunami and liquefaction events. The megatsunami triggered by the 2004 earthquake led to irreversible changes in the barrier islands on both coasts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number178
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2021


  • Barrier island
  • Earthquake
  • GIS
  • Land subsidence
  • Liquefaction
  • Morphology resilience
  • Sumatra
  • Tsunami


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