This paper describes erosion and sedimentation associated with the 17 July 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami. Observed within two months of the tsunami, distinct deposits of a layer averaging 8-cm thick of gray sand rested on a brown muddy soil. In most cases the sand is normally graded, with more coarse sand near the base and fine sand at the top. In some cases the deposit contains rip-up clasts of muddy soil and in some locations it has a mud cap. Detailed measurements of coastal topography, tsunami flow height and direction indicators, and deposit thickness were made in the field, and samples of the deposit were collected for grain-size analysis in the laboratory. Four shore-normal transects were examined in detail to assess the shore-normal and along shore distribution of the tsunami deposit. Near the shoreline, the tsunami eroded approximately 10-25 cm of sand from the beach and berm. The sandy layer deposited by the tsunami began 50-150 m inland from the shoreline and extended across the coastal plain to within about 40 m of the limit of inundation; a total distance of up to 750 m from the beach. As much as 2/3 of the sand in the deposit originated from offshore. Across most of the coastal plain the deposit thickness and mean grain size varied little. In the along-shore direction the deposit thickness varied with the tsunami wave height; both largest near the entrance to Sissano Lagoon.
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Erosion and sedimentation from the 17 July, 1998 Papua New Guinea tsunami